After our visit from the smuggler last night my fellow inn-dwellers became very distressed. Makes no sense to me, there weren’t even any threats of terrible violence. I didn’t expect a gravedigger and three former streetwalkers to be so skittish. The point is they were no fun after that, they just drank moodily for a while without saying anything and then went to bed. I assured them that if anyone tried to come in during the night I would able to hear them with my keen feline ears but in all honestly I was pretty soundly asleep most of the night. But no one got killed so it worked right?
Before the sun was even up I did hear someone knocking softly on the door. I threw my voice to whoever this early riser was.
“Sorry, we’re closed.”
“I’m looking for a detective.”
“This is an inn, there’s no detectives here. Is that right? There are no detectives here I mean.”
“Can you let me in so we can talk?”
“We are talking. And no I can’t, not just because we’re closed but also because I can’t reach the doorknob and I don’t have hands.”
“You must be the one I’m looking for then.”
“I was told there was a cat detective here that solved a murder. I need your help.”
“Seriously? You want to hire me? I can’t even open doors. Also that just happened, word really gets around, it is pretty interesting I suppose.”
“Even without being able to open doors you solved a case, I need you to do it again. A rare book seller was found dead in his bathtub and I can’t figure out what happened, the door was locked so no one could have gotten in to kill him.”
“The person locked the door afterwards, or the water was poisoned somehow, or magic, or a thousand other things. I did solve one murder, sort of, but I’m not a detective.”
“I can give you five hundred gold.”
I sighed “Fine, hold on a second.”
I went upstairs into Bru’s room. Why her room? She was the only one whose door was open enough for me to push in. Let that be a lesson I guess? I jumped on the bed and pawed at her but she didn’t seem like she wanted to get up.
“Hey, hey, come downstairs and open the door for me.”
She rolled over sleepily “Why should I?”
“Because if you don’t I’ll scratch that pretty face of yours up real good.”
For the record she doesn’t have a pretty face, it’s just okay. When she opened the door standing on the other side was a handsome fellow with wavy dark hair and a slightly shaggy goatee – he would have been somewhat more handsome if he hadn’t been dressed foppishly but what can you do. He bowed slightly to Bru who was clearly smitten.
“Good morning ma’am, sorry to disturb you.”
She smiled shyly and all but fanned herself with her hand “It’s no trouble at all.”
“Calm down woman, thanks for opening the door, now beat it – we have business to discuss.”
His name, he claimed, as Ulin Scrua but if that isn’t a fake name I don’t know what is. He said that he was a frequent patron of the dead bookseller Cweat Holloh and had become worried when Cweat didn’t show up for a meeting where he was going to buy some old book he droned on about for a while. He went to Cweat’s house and upon finding the door locked and getting no response he broke it down – or so he said, he didn’t look study enough to kick down a door to me – where he found him dead in the tub.
“And so you came looking for a talking cat? How does that make sense? Why didn’t you report this murder to the watch? That seems like the logical thing to do.”
“Well . . . Cweat was a seller of rare books . . . but he also made forgeries sometimes.”
“If he’s dead what does it matter? He doesn’t have a reputation to maintain.”
“Well . . . I may have been involved . . . somewhat . . . as well.”
“Don’t you make books by copying them? How is a forgery of a book different from the real thing?”
“Oh, there’s a number of reasons they’re very different. You see . . .”
“Forget I asked. Alright let’s go check out this dead guy. He’s probably all bloated and gross from being in the water all this time. Five hundred isn’t even enough really.”
“It’s all I have.”
“You’re spending all the money you have to hire a cat to solve the murder of a guy you don’t even really know?”
“Well when you say it like that it sounds weird.”
This early in the morning there weren’t a lot of people out on the streets which made me feel a lot better about walking around – I’m still convinced that I’m going to get stepped on out here. What a moronic way to die. There were a few people out and about though – specifically one who I saw come around a corner and point a crossbow at Scrua. He was yammering on about some book and didn’t notice – I jumped up and dug my claws into his backside.
“Get down you idiot!”
He sort of lurched and ducked involuntarily and the crossbow bolt missed him by the hairs of his chinny chin chin. The assailant reloaded his crossbow and Scrua was smart enough to duck behind a marble planter for cover. The man with the crossbow had a green cloth over his face and an odd white tunic with lace up sleeves. He started walking closer cautiously with his crossbow at the ready.
“Poke your head up and then instantly drop back down – see if you can get him to fire and waste the shot then you can attack while he reloads.”
Scrua’s eyes went wide “What?!”
“Is that a real sword on your hip or some fancy pants bullshit?”
He looked at the hilt like it was a venomous snake “What? This? Yes . . . I mean it’s a real sword. I’ve never used it, it’s just part of the outfit . . .”
“Wonderful. Take it out, make sure you don’t poke yourself in the eye. I’m going to distract the guy, when his back is turned you run out and stab him in the back.”
“Wh-what? Like you want me to kill him? Couldn’t I just hit him with the flat?”
“You can try I guess, it’s a court blade so the edge probably isn’t very sharp anyway, but it’s pretty hard to club someone with the wide part of the sword and I don’t think you had much chance of success anyway.”
I threw my voice behind the advancing assassin and he spun around, giving Scrua the chance to spring into action and attack from the rear. Which he did, he hit the man in the back with the flat of the sword – he didn’t even go for the head – it sounded like giving someone a sharp slap with a leather glove and probably hurt about as much as well. The man with the green mask swung back around and kicked Scrau so hard in the groin that he flew back half a foot and his legs went flying out from under him just form the force. I hope he already has children or doesn’t want them.
The thug dropped the crossbow, which for the record really bugs me – take better care of your crossbow buddy, have a little pride – and took an ugly mace from his belt. You may be thinking “aren’t all maces ugly” but no, they’re not, I’ve seen some maces in my day that were akin to works of art. I scampered around behind him to the discarded crossbow as he made ready to cave in Scrua’s head. I managed to nudge the crossbow into position and hit the trigger with my nose. Amazingly it was a hit – going through Mr. Green’s knee from behind and poking out the front. It was somewhat nauseating to see. Both men were down and in extreme pain, but the killer pulled out a knife and started crawling towards Scrua – this is one determined murderer. I ran back over to Scrua.
“I know you just took a hard one to the bags but you need to rally right now man because you’re about to get stabbed.”
Scrua’s groping hand managed to find his slim blade and with a great effort he managed to poke it towards the slowly crawling assassin. His second poke hit the man in the cheek and glanced off to slice off part of his ear. His third poke went through the back of the man’s hand and caused him to drop his dagger. I threw my voice in his direction again.
“Who hired you?”
“Where are you?”
“I’m invisible. I’m standing over you right now with a vial of acid – if you don’t tell me what I want to know I’m going to empty the whole thing on you.”
“Velya, Velya hired me, don’t burn me!”
“Well there you go Scrua, Velya killed your business associate.”
“How do you know that?”
“She probably hired this guy to stake out the house and see if anyone came snooping around and if they did to take them out too. Is there another reason Veyla would want you dead?”
“I don’t even know who that is. Oh, I think I’m going to be sick.”
And he was. Its odd how being in extreme pain can make you feel nauseated. I’m not sure how that makes any sense. What does that help? The human body has some real issues. I sat and watched while the hired killer slowly crawled away and Scrua slowly managed to get to his feet. Even then it was a good fifteen minutes before he could walk.
“We can still go to the crime scene if you want but Velya did it so I don’t see the point.”
“I don’t know. How about we go back to the inn and you can pay me my money and we can talk about that?”
Hair regrowth progress : NA
Funds: 300 gold (held in trust)
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, Rindol the Sage