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“Humph,” thinks Wyk as he darts from shadow to shadow after Blacklake’s lackey, “why these folks are so intent on letting those who tried to kill them roam free is beyond me. Still, this little mouse may yet be useful and the circumstances are favorable for me to deal with this in my own way.” Wyk quickly ducks behind a large woven basket full of melons as the lackey briefly glances behind him. Wyk counts to three as the lackey’s eyes sweep over his hiding place and then resumes trailing the little mouse.

Satisfied that there is no one following him, the lackey continues on his way. The lackey ends up in a seedier part of town, and enters what could only be called a black-magic medicine hut. The smell of dried rat and lizard with strange spices fills the air as the lackey pushes aside the beaded doorway. The medicine man is an ancient-looking Tiefling, perhaps well over 80 or a hundred, with the way he moves. Wyk can easily get into a hiding spot with a good view of the infirmary.

After the lackey mentions he’s one of Blacklake’s thugs, the medicine man prepares a paste and applies some poultices to the lackey’s wounds, and gives him a splint for his sprained wrist. The medicine man goes into the back room for some pills to give to his patient. When the medicine man comes back with the large black pills, the lackey becomes a bit panicked. The medicine man says, “Here, since you’re one of Blacklake’s friends I’ll not charge you for the healing, but I strongly recommend as a doctor taking these pills which cost 10 gold apiece. With those injuries, you’ll need two of them.” At this, the lackey pulls a dagger on the old man, and shouts “I got what I came for fool, I’m not paying you, and I don’t need any black-magic pills.” He pushes the old man over and runs out of the infirmary.

Wyk smirks and mutters to himself, “Perhaps there is justice in life.” Once the lackey turns a corner and is out of sight Wyk brushes himself off and casually strolls into the store, the beads click and clack musically behind him. His practiced eye wanders over the various herbs and spices before pausing on the medicine man.

“Good day, kind sir. Well,” Wyk chuckles, “a good day for you, perhaps a good day for me, not so much of a good day for your friend there.” he motions after the lackey and continues, “Never turn away good medicine, that’s what I always say. But on to business, that’s what puts the coin in your pocket. I was wondering if you had any Thassil Root, for a stew I’m making.”

The old man stands and gives Wyk a wary eye, “I’m not familiar with that particular medicine. Pray tell, what does it treat my good Halfling?” The man moves along his medicine cabinet, his eyes flicking back and forth, looking for something.

“Oh, it helps with the relaxation of the limbs after a long day of hard labor. You see my friends are often working very dilligently and have trouble relaxing in the evening hours. Therefore I wish to do what I can to put them at their ease with a nice hot meal.”

“You…” His eyes dart back and forth, “Well for that I recommend drinking – not too much you understand. But a glass of red wine with the evening meal will help with relaxation.”

“Hmmm…” Wyk mulls, “Yes, you offer sound advice, truly you are a credit to your field. I will take your suggestion and acquire a fine vintage to serve with tonight’s meal. Perhaps there is something else I could purchase from you, a bit of information perhaps?” Wyk leans in closer and lowers his voice. “I happen to know who employs the gentleman who was just in here to see you and I would be interested in anything you could offer about him.”

The man eyes you, confident that you’re not aware of his illegal (and wholsale immoral) practice. At the mention of Blacklake, the old man gets irritated, “Blacklake is a fool who thinks he owns the docks, and everything around it. His goons are in here all the time, thinking they own the place.” He snorts, “He’s not hard to find, he’ll be at that nasty watering hole on the northeast side of the docks.” He looks at you again, “You’re not cooking for him, tonight are you? He ah… might require something stronger than wine to relax.” His eyes take on a truly evil glint as a breeze howls in through the windows which sends the lantern flickering and casts dancing shadows over the skulls on his walls.

“Oh?” Wyk grins and mimics the shaman’s glint, “It is so fortunate he will be able to rest so, please, do tell me to what I owe this favor?”

“Hrmm…” the man’s eyes gaze around the room at his shelves, and he frowns. “I don’t have anything that strong here tonight… in a fortnight perhaps? Some of these medicines are hard to find.” He straightens, cracks more joints than is certainly healthy, and motions for you to leave. “I’m sorry, but it is late. My previous customer wore me out entirely… I hope you’ll forgive me. Do, ah, do return during regular business hours and maybe I’ll have something stronger for Mr. Blacklake.”

He moves into the back room, and putters around putting things away.

Wyk, happy with his luck so far, quietly slips out of the medicine hut and picks up the trail of the worse for wear lackey. Wyk finds lackey down at the waterfront, down the walls to the docks where a lot of warehouses and other buildings have been built right over the water. The cool night air pushes the waves up against the pillars of the docks, their creaking covers any sound Wyk might make upon the docks.

The moonlight splashes over the river, creating a pool of silver. Wyk trails the lackey to one dilapidated building in the northeast corner of the docks. The sounds of revelry, gambling, and drinking, with the smell of hot food, smoke, and cheap perfume give away the nature of this establishment. As the lackey reaches the doorway, he stumbles a bit, catches his balance, and then walks through the saloon’s swinging double-doors.

“Now this is my kind of establishment.” Wyk says to himself. “My father wouldn’t approve, that is certain, but a man can get lost in one of these, and I have often needed the anonymity.” Wyk retreats into a dark alley, takes off his coat, rolls it up tightly and sets it into some dark shadows. Next he tosses his hair a bit and pulls a small clamshell case out of his kit, applying the powder to his face to give a ruddy yet worn look. He removes most of his shrunken keeping two of the normal ones in regular places and hides his special one deep in his clothing, along with his kit. Thus prepared he casually walks into the establishment on the docks.

A few of the patrons glance your way as you move in, and they check their purses. You spy the man in question in the back, sitting with some of his other buddies. His face is pale, and he appears to be using alcohol as pain medicine for his limb.

Wyk wanders over to the bar and finds himself a seat where he can keep an eye on the lackey and orders a drink. As he slowly sips his beverage he keeps one eye on the lackey and the other on the general hussle and bussle of the establishment. He continues to sit, alert and waiting.

But Wyk doesn’t have to wait long as the lacky, only into his third hand of cards, coughs spasmatically and spews up a thick black liquid. He falls over, face down onto the playing table. Everyone else at the table scrambles like the plague to get away from the dead body, making hand gestures to ward off evil spirits. The bar is quiet for a few moments until the Inn-keep, pale and shaking, moves to take the body away.


4E Farlanthia Maethalion Maethalion