It was a dark and stormy night in the port city of Sasserine. Most nights were dark, and during this time of the year storms were not particularly uncommon, but still, tonight was a night best spent indoors. Unfortunately for Kora Whistlegap, she had business to attend to. The rain fell in sheets as the wizened little Halfling waddled through the streets of the Azure district, squinting up at the numbers on the doors she passed before settling on a destination. Reaching her left hand into the leather satchel slung around her tiny frame, she moved onto the stoop and rapped on the door.
As she waited for an answer, Kora tugged her thick woolen cloak around her shoulders to fend off the chill. After a few moments, the door was opened by a muscular-looking Elf woman. Smiling, Kora produced a sealed letter from her satchel and handed it to the Elf. “Beg yer pardon Miss, I have for ya a letter from M’lady.”
Eyeing the Halfling quizically, the Elven woman grabbed the letter, broke the seal, and began to read:
Greetings, and I trust this missive finds you in good health!
My name is Lavinia Vanderboren, and I humbly request your attendance at dinner at my estate on Festival Street and Blue Skink Lane tomorrow evening. I think that I can present you with an opportunity uniquely suited to your skills. Please inform the carrier of this letter of your response to this invitation, and I hope to be speaking to you soon!
After she finished reading, the Elf looked up from the letter, then down at the halfing, and responded, “Tell your Lady Lavinia, I’ll be there.”
With a smile and a nod, Kora thanked the Elf and bid her good evening before turning back to the rainy streets. She had four more letters to deliver before the night was done.
It was a slow night in the Rusty Mermaid. A few regulars were scattered about the taproom playing cards and Rufus was at his usual place at the bar, nursing a glass of rum. ‘Slow night…’ pondered Rex Forley as he wiped down the same spot on the bar he’d been wiping down for the past two hours, ‘If business don’t pick up soon, I’ll have ta start calling in some tabs,’ he eyed Rufus with a scowl as the aging Bard took a sip of his rum and looked to the door, ‘not that half these sots could pay up anyway.’
Following Rufus’ gaze, Rex watched as another regular slipped in and took a deep breath, bracing for trouble. His latest patron swaggered up to the bar and planted her shapely posterior into a stool. ‘Shame she doesn’t fancy blokes,’ lamented Rex silently as she leaned over the bar. “What’ll ya have Felix, I be hopin’ it ain’t trouble.”
“No trouble,” Felix replied, “just information. What do you know about Lavinia Vanderboren?”
Before Rex could repsond, Rufus leaned over and butted in, “Vanderboren? hic Ya didn’t hear ‘bout the fire Felix? Lemme buy ya a drink and I’ll tell you about it.”
With a coy smile, Felix scooted over next to the drunken minstrel and replied, “Sure thing Rufus, just tell me what you know.”
With a roll of his eyes, Rex began to fill a glass for the raven-haired wench as Rufus laid into his tale. “Ya see Felix, about a month ago, the Vanderborens, Larissa and Verik Vanderboren to be precise. They was out for a pleasure cruise on the harbor, but their ship caught fire and they both died! This Lavinia yer askin’ about and her brother Vanthus are the only Vanderborens left ’round here nowabouts."
Felix nodded her head, “I see… that does sound mysterious…” As she pondered the story and took a drink, Rex noticed the door open again and tall, remarkably beautiful, Half-Elven woman walked into the bar. As if stuck by lightning, all of the patrons stopped what they were doing and stared. As the woman made her way to the bar, Rufus pulled out a comb and started running it through his greasy hair and Rex spotted old Cletus Maxwell pop out his glass eye to give it a polish, but all Rex could do was stare, his mouth agape. When the woman finally drew near, he tried to fumble for some words, but she spoke first, “Who are you?” she asked, but she wasn’t talking to him, she was talking to Felix, who was still staring down into her drink.
Looking up from her thoughts, Felix replied, “I’m Felix, who are you?”
“I’m Freya, what are you doing here?”, answered the mysterious woman.
“I got this letter from Lavinia Vanderboren and I’m investigating!” shot back Felix.
“Oh my god! I totally got a letter too!” exclaimed Freya, pulling a letter with a broken green seal from a pouch at her belt.
“Did you hear about her parents? They burned to death.” said Felix.
“That’s crazy! This Lavinia woman wants me to meet her for dinner tomorrow!” said Freya
“Oh my god, me too!” said Felix
“Oh okay, well I’ll see you there I guess!” said Freya as she turned to leave.
“Sounds good! See you tomorrow!” replied Felix as she followed Freya out the door.
Rex closed his mouth. He had no clue what just happened, but decided he was better off not knowing and went back to polishing the bar.
Part 3 forthcoming!