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|Ah! Help has arrived... sort of||
Marlamin was a retired commander of the Spy network. A cunning man, tall and well muscled. His head once think with hair, now was bare and pink with age. He almost always went about with a hat on his head. ‘Tis against the sun’ so he insisted.
Dowen found him at his desk, working on nothing in particular. He gave Marlamin Leslie’s message about Panwyn and told him of Sari’s disappearance.
“Marly where is she? Leslie is terribly wound up, and Miss Gabbie is distraught.” Dowen dry washed his hands in agitation.
“Calm yourself Wen. Let me gather my people, we’ll find her.”
“Yes, good. May you find smooth seas, and Sari.” Dwoen raced back towards the docks.
‘So old timer, how you goona get your crew together?’ Marlamin began listing who he would need. ‘Not too many, yet enough to cover ground… yes, those four will do nicely.’
“Hey old man Marly! Not seen you in here for, Ocean’s Depth how longs it been? Can’t say I recall rightly the last time you were in here. Glad you’re here though, can’t say business has been good, what with all those, you know… Birds, about. Right glad I am that they all flew off when they did. Would have been nice if they did it earlier or never came in the first place! Well , don’t just stand there blocking the doorway, come in, come in. What can I get you? Afraid cooks gone down to the docks to fetch some more fish as all the lads and lasses are home, after all that fuss. Sorry, what was that?” Risaldale was as close to a hummingbird as was humanly possible. He owned and ran the Foreshore Inn. Being so talkative (indeed it could be hard to place your order) the inn was frequently used by the spy network as a meeting place.
“A pint of your finest Risal.” Malarmin humored Risal, and eased himself into a booth at the rear of the inn to scan the room. It was quiet, there were a few small groups huddled around the fires, and ‘thank the stars’ there was Leontyne, stumbling towards him. >>>>
Leontyne slipped quite rudely across Marlamin’s table, and whispered “Five”. Ungraciously he staggered to his feet, drunkenly apologized and lurched up the staris.
Risal brought Marly his pint and before he was caught in Risal’s rolling tongue he excused himself, and followed Leontyne to room five.
"I was surprised to see you here Sir. Can't keep out of the game huh?" Leontyne was as sober as a schoolboy.
Marlamin sighed deeply as he sat down on the edge of the bed. 'I'm too old for this.' He thought.
"what brings you here then? All the reports were sent to the ships."
"The Lady Sari is missing. Seems Morgan has lead her off somewhere and hasn't reappeared. I'm assembling a taskforce to find them." Marlamin paused so Leontyne could take this in. "I want you to use your connections to check the, how shall I put it… the underside of town? You know the places he used, and where he may have gone." >>>>>>>>
"Sweet stars, Morgan? I'll get right onto it. Who else? You know I can't get in everywhere, what with my growing reputation." Leontyne grinned as he said this last.
yet, meet you here at dawn tomorrow."
Leontyne nodded and Marlamin left the Foreshore.
"Karla hold still, I'm nearly done." Horkas' eyes twinkled with suppressed mirth. He was an artist by trade, and an artist at heart. Whenever you saw him his hands were covered in paint splotches. If he didn't have his brush in hand, he would finger a strange shell >>>>>>>>>>> hung about his neck. He did not like the water though. Rumor had it that the necklace had come from the Sea folk, and was a reason Horkas avoided the water. A gift from them is treasured, but feared.
"C'mon Horkas, you've been saying that for hours. I've things I should be doing!" Karla's slanted turquoise eyes glinted dangerously. Horkas knew better than to underestimate Karla's plump build. Any who saw her dance, knew she had the speed and agility of a serpent.
"Alright, just a few more strokes."
Karla rolled her eyes.
"My dear Karla, you of all people know Horkas likes to take his time – meticulous I'd say – so why did you ever agree to pose for him in the first place?"
"Watch it Marlamin! We don't have to answer to you anymore." Horkas scathed.
"HORKAS! You came here for a reason I take it Sir?" Karla asked. She hated it when…. >>>>>>>
"Perceptive as always my dear, yes. A matter most grave." Maralmin proceeded to detail the situation.
"I'd scarcely believe it if I'd heard it from any but you Sir." Karla shook her head, shocked.
"Indeed. So Horkas, will you answer to me just this one last time?" Marlamin knew the answer.
With a grimace (Horkas didn't like Marlamin) "For the Lady Sari – of course. What do we do?"
"First, Karla listen to the chatter in the Taverns as your dancing –"
"Like I don't!"
"~Horkas, you will meet me first thing tomorrow at the Foreshore. Second, Karla we'll send word to you at the Dancing Sails. I'd want you to pas it on to First Mate Dowen and the Master."
"It would be an honour, Sir." Karla dipped her head *** in assent. Horkas merely nodded.
"Right, I've one more to find then. See you at daybreak then, Horkas." Marlamin smiled irritatingly.
It was a dark morning as the sun sought to burst through the cloud laden sky. The air was heavy with the threat of rain. Wind howled and houses creaked. It was not a dawn to be outside in. Horkas only just made the entrance to the Foreshore before the sky unleashed its fury on the world. He sauntered to the bar, where he met Risaldale.
"Ho, ho, Horkas! Well fancy seeing you here, in an Inn at this hour (coming in not staggering out!) Law, never thought I'd see you back after that last time. Remember? When you was so deep in your cups that you all up and fell on that poor fellow from… here, now hold on. Where did that fellow say he was from? You remember, dark fellow, short, lithe… no can't recall where the fellow said he was from. Anyway, I found you passed out cold that morning in the back store room, didn't I? Law, what a night that was. Not had you in here since, if I recall aright. So what brings you back? Hey?"
Horkas didn't want to be reminded of that night. The thug had knocked him out cold, and he'd stolen the information Horkas had spent half the night collecting.
"I'm looking for someone."
"Oh you are? Are you?"
Both Horkas and Risaldale spun around. Standing there grinning with amusment was a young man. His eyes hinted at hidden knowledge, his voice as soft and silky as his >>>> hair.
"Ah, Lesuki, you're a teensy weensy bit earlier than normal. You'll have to wait a bit, Cook's not up this early see. Can't say as I blame her, what with all the late patrons we had last night. Seems many's the folk as to want to drink their worries away. Thought I shouldn't be complaining about that, nor about this… here, now what's all this about? Marly you here twice in two days, Horkas in an Inn at dawn, birds all over! What's the world coming too?"
Now Lesuki turned and grinned at Marlamin who had just entered.
"Well if that how you feel, then I'll not renew my custom here. I here the 'Prancing Fish' is more hospitable."
"Oh Marly, forgive an old fool who talks too much. Oh don't look at me like that, I know I've a tendency to ramble on at times, but when your as busy as I am you just speed up with everything else in order to keep up. Oh I've naught against your custom Marly, but what with you all coming back after so long away, a man has to start thinking 'why have you all come back?', just I'm fool enough to say it." Risal wasn't a bright one, but he did occasionally ask delicate questions.
"It is really quite simple Risal, I'm here to meet some old aquantices, Ah Leontyne, good. Risal a private dining room if you please." Marlamin's smooth manner assured them of Risaldale's assitance.
"A room? Yes, yes of course, first floor, third door on the left. But Cook is still abe, she'll be murderous if I wake her…"
"Easy Risal, just a room and no interruptions. I've pressing business to attend. Leon…" Marlamin led Leontyne to the stairs.
Risal turned "Well isn't that… odd?" There was no one there. "Horkas? Lesuki? Oh its too early for all this." With a sigh he returned to the kitchen.
* * * * *
"I still don't understand how Panwyn is connected to the Lady Sair going off with Morgan?" Lesuki was puzzled.
"It's the best lead we have. I don't understand it rightly myself, but there you are." Leontyne reasoned.
They had spent half the morning discussing and debating on where to start. Marlamin had told them of Panwyn's appearance, to which Leontyne had added some details.
"Seems he turned up just as the attacks ended. The lads on the wall saw him and two Sea folk up on the beach. They weren't singing though. Right confused the lads were. Panwyn's meant to foretell ill omens not the end of an attack. One lad said he saw the beautiful female one swim off and then the other started singing. All the lads felt the sadness and hope in them stagne words. The up Panwyn gets and walks off to the west. Best lead we got."
So whilst still puzzling these few known details, they found themselves wandering along the western wall, looking for clues. They went in pais (Leontyne and Horkas and Marlamin and Lesuki) and seemed to just be walking. They were meeting at the Dancing Sails three hours after midday, to give Karla news and to get her opinion. All the while knowing the trail grew cold.
|Chapter 11 Attack of the Gulls prt 1||Chapter 10, In the Royal Court, part 1|
|Chapter 06 - Deep in the woods||Oceana's People - history|
|Chapter 02 - The Tunnel, Part 1||Chapter 08 - The Scout, part 1|