Ordi regarded me with his trademark twilight apathy. It took no time at all to rouse him. As suspected he was up late working on 3 men who were brought in from sea for burial. I could smell the sweat on his brow. Clearly he had been struggling to manipulate their bodies into the proper position. Lothatio stood near the door, ready to vomit any moment.
“Well, sis what brings you to me at this hour?”
“I have a body”
“Lothatio, would you like to explain our predicament?”
No response. I continued,
“Ok… This and 3 other unidentified ladies lured my friend here into the woods for an apparent human sacrifice last night. He escaped and came to me for assistance. When we returned to obtain his affects, we found the 4 around the fire chanting inaudibly. I noticed a ring pinching off the finger of this one, known as Lillith. I ensnared her, but could not get her to talk. Suspecting foul play, I took it upon myself to eliminate her. The other 3 ran when I ensnared her and Lothatio may or may not be able to identify them. They may have been under a spell, as we waited a few hours and they did not return. I want to ask Shairkash about the ring, but I needed a neutral party. You know how he is, the snake.”
“ Ok and Lillith is in that bag?”
“ Let’s see her.”
I gently laid out the bag with Lillith inside. Rigor mortis has set in with her, and she was sort of U shaped as a result. Everything was soaked in blood. I was shocked by the fact that her eyes were still opened. I could have sworn I closed them, but you never know. She let out a breath as Ordi and I worked to straighten her out. Lothatio soiled his dress.
“ Do you recognize her? Lothatio’s fine attire was hers, so I suspect she was wealthy and might be missed.”
“ I don’t recognize her, but you know how I don’t get out much. I know someone who would know her, if she is from anywhere in Amn.”
“Can I place you in charge of identifying her?”
“Of course. I’ll send Wilbur to you when I know something.”
Wilbur was Ordi’s White Owl, gifted to him at birth and ever so faithful. Makes for good company at night too.
“ Well done, then we will go to Shairkash unless you think we should inform your father or someone.”
“ You might do well to see Shairkash and let me update Father. He may call on you, as he had a job.”
“ Fair enough. I’ll be around the usual places. He met these ladies at the Sea Elf’s Lover. I may head there first to see if the servers might know who the other ladies were or where Lillith came from. Meanwhile, do you have any spare duds for my friend here? You are similar sizes.”
“ Indeed. I’m sure I have some old rags somewhere.”
I waited outside for Lothatio to get dressed and we pressed onward to the Sea Elf’s Lover, where I stood out like the sorest of thumbs. Most people in Murann are humans, with a small percentage of half elves. This tavern was swarming with Elvin blood, and you can imagine the reaction to an orc prancing in. Still, the musician played on and I approached the bar. To my delight, I found a familiar face, Mirin Tuskar. Mirin is the best barkeep around and the youngest daughter of Forgone Tuskar, who owns all the taverns in Murann and some elsewhere. When Mirin came of age, but declined to marry, her father gave her the Swinging Berth, his seediest, most affordable tavern and my favorite place in the world.
“Moz? Are you lost? Feeling ok?”
“Not exactly. I need to talk to someone who was here last night.”
“Aye, I’ve been in and out for the past week while Father is away.”
“Has anyone mentioned any trouble or oddity last night? Specifically involving Lothatio?”
“Has he got you running errands for him? The fiend.”
“Indeed. I’ll have to leave Amn to get rid of him.”
“Ketha did say he pulled 4 ladies last night. Didn’t mention anything foul.”
“Did Ketha name names?”
“No, she didn’t know who the lasses were. They were all well dressed and good looking. We all found that surprising for Lothatio.”
“No odd behavior or outside spirits at the table?”
“Where might I find Ketha? Will she be on tonight?”
“In time for dinner and working until the witching hour at least.”
“Noted. Thanks, love.”
“Welcome, love. Have one on me. Will Lothatio be playing tonight?”
“What choice does he have? He’ll be needing all new rags.”
“Send him in. We’ll find something and he can work it off.”
It was now time to talk to talk to Shairkash about the ring. His hop lay on the north end of Murann, just North of the Tethyr Road. It was a place shrouded in darkness. Shairkash had become so wealthy that he had a small following of wealthy investors, protectors. The result was a merchant town teeming with the spellbound, the desperate, and the addicted. It had an energy that attracted the broken and made the worst of their plight. Merchant Town was also the last place I saw my father.