Tue Jul 21, 2015 2:02 am
Deep in the morning a fire had been set within a shop within the ranks of Merchant's Row. It burned gloriously uncontrolled in spite of attempts to quench the blaze's thirst or to even subdue it the smallest bit. Eventually all efforts would be put towards making sure the fire did not spread to other buildings and in that at least the locals were successful. This lone two-story shop had only just months ago been opened, offering appraisals on trinkets of the mundane and magical. The proprietor also sold these items and tapestries, many unscathed by the flames due to their nature but mostly only the skeletal remains of a building remained covered in ash and debris.
Upstairs upon the floor was the unfortunate corpse of the woman who lived there, Lycoris Amoné. At first glance one might have assumed that smoke inhalation took the woman's life like most fires would. Her body, covered in soot and ash was not nearly as seared or blackened by the flames as her once fine dress of crimson and gold that had remained somewhat in tact throughout the inferno. Perhaps one of the rings she wore was to protect her from the fire and worked exactly as advertised but all it served to do was preserve the scene of foul play.
She lay face down in the dark circular patterns in the floor made by blood boiling away after it left her body. Her forearms were cut open many times in presumed defensive wounds against a blade, the wounds still seeping and warm in the aftermath of destruction. Her throat was slit open by a sloppy hand, more than once: the first was to wound and perhaps incapacitate her, the second hacked at her windpipe to finally end her life eventually but the assailant seemed to not go for the jugular. This violence was far from professional, far from cold and collected. It had been a heated battle where Lycoris still clenched her own old bone knife that gleamed in spite of the dark, seared destruction around it.
Neighbors would have described her to each other as driven, living with a work ethic that sometimes seemed like it swallowed her whole. She was kind and respectful of others in the Row, knowledgeable in the affairs of business outside of running a shop and often would field the questions of her peers. They liked her and were happy for the woman when they began to see a young man in black come around over the last few weeks... until now. No-one upon the scene could believe such a thing could happen: not here, not to her. Constables would be alerted, foul play would be called, the few crimson dragon lilies that survived outside of her shop were gathered up and saved by her neighbors. It was the least they could do to pay their respects.
Tue Jul 21, 2015 5:53 am
The Constables had, indeed, been alerted to the fire. A brigade and bucket chain had been set up to try and quench the fire, but some fires just run too hot for a few puny buckets to do much good. In the end, they had watered the buildings around the inferno to keep it from spreading and let the flames starve themselves out. The initial investigation once it had cooled enough to walk through had raised alarm, and the detective was sent in to investigate further.
Now Perilat stood surveying the room before crouching down next to the mutilated body. Lycoris Amoné. That was the name the neighbors had given as the proprietor and resident of the shop, so he would make a tentative assumption that this was, indeed, Sera Amoné.
“We huvnae hud a mudder loch thes in quite awhile.”
He looked up at the older fellow, a Guard he had traveled with recently by the name of Winslow of bushy peppered chops and watery blue eyes. The man was rheumy and getting up there in years, but still a good, solid hand to have in tight spots. Perliat looked back down at the body of Sera Amoné with some sympathy, but he was having a hard time of it. He and the horsewoman, Ailova, had split two bottles—one of his better quality and one of her rotgut—between them and his early awakening to come and take a gander had left him wishing it was him lying there instead.
“Nothing quite like this at least. We get the occasional knifing at the Floating Dragon.” A glance up at the old Guard, then back down as he leans farther over, unsheathing the dagger in his boot to poke around gentle, trying to disturb as little as possible, wanting to get a full understanding of how she died first.
“Neighbors said she was a driven hen. Aye buried in 'er wark. They waur plait when a cheil in black started comin' aroond th' pest few weeks.”
The Constable pauses for a moment, repeating the words back in his head. Having been around Ailova for as much as he had been, he was learning the workings of the different accents in the Myrken, but sometimes it was too much for a hungover mind to comprehend the first time around. “So Sera Amoné had a friend? A suitor? Possible business partner? Customer?”
“Whit dae Ah swatch loch, a seer?”
A heavy sigh, and his attention is drawn back onto the wounds at her arms, then up to her throat. “Cut twice. First one I’m betting was to put her in a panic, to keep her under control while they—they what? Ransacked the place? Robbery gone wrong?” He leans in farther, close enough to the body that Winslow shuffles his feet in discomfort. “No…no, this is hesitant. Inexperienced. They didn’t try to slit her throat proper.” He points toward the left side of her throat, where the carotid was untouched. “You want someone to die fast, you cut that side, and cut it clean. They slit her throat but they took out her windpipe, not the bloodlines.”
Eyes flick to her hands. Defensive wounds. The deepness suggested strength—and rage. Anger. Some unpleasant emotion. Gloves on, he would carefully take the knife out of her rigored fingers, holding it upward toward the light, looking it over. “Fancy knife. Wonder if this is one of her wares or her personal weapon.”
Rising to his feet, he looks back at Winslow with a jerk of his head toward the skeletal remains of the building. “If it is undamaged, box it up and send it to the Constabulary. We’ll try to find some next of kin. Make sure to take her jewelry and put it in the box, too. Document it all, eh? Don’t want things to go missing before we have a chance to investigate this.” The last line was said much, much louder, so that the other Guards milling around would hear it. Perilat had a reputation for fair play, a knight without the armor. But…he played fair. Everything in the boxes, and if they could not find next of kin…
“I’m going to keep this with me for a bit, eh?” He says to Winslow, holding up the odd blade. “I want to ask the neighbors about it, see if anyone recognizes it. Maybe it’s what killed her, or she got it off the murderer. Document it and I’ll put it in the boxes back at the Constabulary when I’m done with it.” A nod from the old Guard, and the lawman was on his way out to begin the investigation before breakfast.
Tue Jul 21, 2015 6:08 am
Calls of a fire to the north in Merchant's Row awoke the Lord Steward from his sleep in his toy shop bedroom. Of course, Tready's Toys is to the south of that, near the market square proper, by the Deck. However, fires can travel quickly, and people expect the government to be involved in their constituents' welfare.
Thus, shortly after the fire began, Aloisius Treadwell found himself huffing-puffing up the street in his green robe and hat, following the crowd to see what was happening. He, of course, was of little use in actual fire fighting, instead staying back to watch and stay informed of everything he could see on the outside. Once the fire was extinguished, he would be on his way, leaving the Constables to their work.
Treadwell would eventually find his way back to his bed around the sunrise, there to collapse after taking the briefest moments to change back to his nightgown, and there to snore until lunch.
Wed Jul 22, 2015 8:58 am
Off to the side sits a sniffling Linora. She had been working with Lycoris at her shop for some time now and had come this morning to find the building aflame. She had hoped that Lycoris had gotten out but those hopes were quickly dashed when somebody found the body. Distraught because her friend and boss is now dead, she will just sit there and cry. Some people try to comfort her, kind neighbors and the like who had met Linora in passing, but she waves them off. She doesn't like to be touched. Lycoris wasn't perfect but she hadn't diserved to die. She had always been kind to Linora. Even gave her a job when she was running low on money and needed to find work. Linora worries what she will do now that the shop has been closed. She is out of work again. Guilt wells up for even thinking about her own plight with poor Lycoris dead.
Thu Jul 23, 2015 2:03 am
For a change no one seemed to notice Gragnark, the 10'2" lumbering Orc as he passed down the road where the ashes of the shop lay, everyone too busy rubbernecking or trying to help out. He was on his way to collect a bounty set by one of the towns farmers, another incident of thieves. The Orc would take a quick glance at the ongoing scene and simply shrug, as it had nothing to do with him, not even a wave of pity would pass over him, as he'd seen much worse atrocities.
Gragnark would continue down the road and heading for Dyera Avenue, a stomping following him in his stride.
Thu Jul 23, 2015 7:33 am
Oh, but the Orc was noticed. Muchly noticed. Tall creatures like that are hard not to notice, and orcs...
The bardess watches on as people whisper and stare openly over the rims of the little spectacles on the tip of her rounded nose from her position at the table just inside the window. Herself? Caoimhe was somewhat intrigued by the idea of an orc in the town. And a little dismayed at the orc in the town proper. One woman ran out and snatched up her child before it could get too close, a toddler who had not grown into his biases, and she could see a couple of men standing in a stable doorway with shovels in their hands with baleful stares in the direction of the lumbering beast.
This could get out of hand quickly.
The fire down the street? It was news-worthy, and she would be sure to spin the tale, but...the orc was not a smart thing, to walk in the midst of the superstitious townfolk near the sight of a suspicious fire and the murder of a person who was a known meddler in magics. To her feet she goes, snapping her book shut, and out the door to watch the rest of the procession, observing as she was oft to do. Even the Guards, when the beast drew near, were inclined to give him a wary, warning look. Distrustful. In the back of her mind, Caoimhe found it sad...in the front of her mind, she knew the townfolk had a reason to distrust, fear and loath that which was different.
Thu Jul 23, 2015 1:19 pm
"Heard she had a baby what disappeared," one of the Inquisitors — a reedy young fellow with a cracked monocle that once belonged to his father — whispers to another.
"Curious," says his friend, a farmgirl with a stack of moldering papers on her knees. "That's curious. But have a heart, Polarus! We shouldn't discuss such things. Losing a child's a terrible blow—"
"But it's how! The child never was, Dietra. I mean, fat as a taken hog she was, quite ready to pop, but when the moment came? There simply wasn't a babe. I heard it myself from one of the midwives at the Rememdium. She gave birth, but had nothing to show for it. Not a babe, not a cripple, not even a corpse. Nothing." Polarus Barnes waves his ink-stained hands as if to part an invisible veil. "Vanished! A babe what wasn't a babe."
"That's a fool's tale," Dietra retorts, balling her fist to give the boy a playful jab against the shoulder. "You oughtn't gossip about a woman and her plight that way. Your mother raised you better."
Gloria Wynsee sits at her tiny desk in the Inquisitory, staring down at the lip of the bureau where her fingers had scraped slivers of lacquer off during bouts of great thought and distress. Months had passed since she'd been here. The stipend for her duties as a Junior Inquisitor — three shillings every fortnight — had always come reliably enough to her room in the Broken Dagger, but this long, shadowed building full of its rotten books and mildewed parchments was a foreign land anymore. Still, when the call had been cast through the town — Inquisitors! Constables! Report! Fire in the Merchant's Row! Fire in the Merchant's Row! — she'd come here, instantly awakened, with her cloth Inquisitory badge hastily pinned to the collar of her dress. The glow of the fire burned warmly above the roofs. The black smoke smeared like a greaseblot across the sky. And there'd been a death, too, rumor held. A woman found murdered, cut to ribbons, filleted like a fish—
"We're talking about you, Wynsee," Polarus proclaims, tossing his voice across the unoccupied desks. "You hear?"
Gloria, with her head bowed and her wrinkled bonnet shadowing her face, speaks down to her lone hand gathered in her lap. "No."
"You're not deaf," he says. "Are you deaf?"
"Do you know where your child is?"
"Polarus!" Dietra hisses. "Be wise."
Gloria's silence is a leaden thing.
Polarus presses on. "Odd thing, misplacing a baby. Tell us the truth. Fellow Inquisitors won't set fire to rumors. Did you sell the child off, then?"
A quiet fist squeezes tea-stained skirts until knuckles blanch.
"So you drowned it," he concludes. "Did you put the beast out of its misery when it came out wrong?"
Bristling, Dietra shoves the papers off her lap and throws a scowl at Polarus. Her face screws up with lines of displeasure. Her too-wide stare stabs at him from beneath the ruddy commas of her bangs. She slices her hand underneath her chin — That's enough! — and promptly sweeps herself toward Gloria's desk. Polarus Barnes rolls his eyes, freshens his ink, and continues scribbling out reports, reports, reports. Meanwhile, Gloria keeps picking at the splintered lip of her desk, the frayed edge of her chewed-short nail a bloody mess. Dietra gathers her will into her clasped palms and leans over the younger girl's desk, trying to glance beneath the bill of the ragged bonnet pulled down over the Jerno's pudgy, Sun-darkened cheeks.
"Don't mind him," Dietra whispers, a weak encouragement. "The boredom's driven him almost Maxwell, though I doubt he'll be forcing you to color-code the Inquisitory files any time soon." She bleats out a forced laugh. "But what he says, Gloria, he truly doesn't mean. We've all been a bit frayed about the edges, what, with the talk of the Red Devil and these persistent dreams and all the other sorts of peculiarities hanging over our heads. I certainly can't blame him! Can you? We're all a bit stretched; we're all just a little bit tired."
"It's fine. It's quite fine," Gloria says, her voice wooden and flat.
"Right," Dietra continues. "So how about this: you take that darling Junior Inquisitor badge of yours and wander off to the Constabulary. See someone who knows what they found. Perhaps that Perilat fellow, the good-looking one with something to prove. Gather what intel you can about what awful thing happened at Merchant's Row, and Polarus and I, we'll..."
"Fuck each other until you're half-dead on the Inquisitory's time?"
Dietra's smile grows wide and broad. "You're a real spark," the woman commends, her hems flaring as she turns to saunter back to Polarus's side.
Gloria does not linger. The door slams loudly behind her.
Sat Jul 25, 2015 12:22 pm
The neighbors were more than happy to speak with Perilat, legitimate business owners and all. They would have this solved so the victim could have peace, so that the criminal did not act again here in Merchant's Row or anywhere else for that matter. Many of them knew of this knife the woman held and would explain that it was her prized possession out of all the things in her shop. Lycoris had always insisted that it protected her, that is was the one thing she brought with her from her home in Rooks, and it never left her side. Ever. It was a shame that she put faith in a knife, wasn't it?
The woman never seemed to talk of her personal life outside of the fact that she was not local, that she left much of her family behind across the sea in hopes of striking it out on her own. They were dubious of her next of kin but perhaps she shared more information with the young man that she was seeing? He often came by while she was closing up shop and rarely did he leave immediately: a young man, often in black, with a dragon tattooed upon his arm. Perhaps he would know more of her family, perhaps they had an argument? Unfortunately he was even more quiet than she was and never seemed to come to the Row before coming to her shop as more than a customer.
Wed Jul 29, 2015 4:19 pm
It could be sometimes difficult to find someone unwilling to talk to the charming Constable, especially in the more upscale areas of commerce. The Docks? The back alleys? He would have a harder time blending in with his clean shave, his neat attire and neat grooming habits. But they took it for granted around other areas, and he was always able to be the bee charmer, gleaning what needs to be known.
A young fellow in black, with a dragon tattoo on his arm. The Constable drums his fingers on the belt around his midsection, looking upward at the climbing sun. Scorcher. It was going to be a scorcher today; he could already feel the heat rising, the sweat clinging to the cotton of his shirt. He looks back toward the shambles of the establishment, where a couple of the Guards were working on removing the body with Winslow overseeing the work. They would remove the trinkets and charms from her body, catalogue them for next of kin, then burn the body.
Bodies were always burned in the Myrken. He had heard the stories, and the policy was quite alright with him.
He watches the body, covered in a shroud to keep it from prying eyes, be loaded into the wagon to be removed, and then the salty old Guard came toward him, bushy brows furrowed hard over his watery eyes. Perilat could feel the wariness rising at that look.
“Sum guy with a tattoo? That's half the men in town.”
Perilat inhales deeply, rubbing the back of his neck beneath the blonde ponytail. “Yes. Yes, it is. So we will have to narrow it down quickly. Sooner we get on this, the more likely we will be to catch him before he skips. Got it on good authority that the docks won’t let men sign onto ship on a whimsy.”
“Take care of the body. Find next of kin if there is any. Find this bloke.” He looks down at the knife he had put on his belt for the purpose of being able to carry it around easier. Lycoris was never without it.
Fat lot of good it did her in the end, eh?
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