Year 28 of the 7th Imperator, 6th of Declarations
Hearts still pounding after their narrow escape from the spearmen guarding the lighthouse, the party arrived at the wharves and realized (with no great surprise) that they were being pursued. Another small boat was crossing the water toward them, and the glinting brass of armor could be seen even from the shore. Calliope, still as naked as a jay bird, made an incredible bee line through the oblivious throngs of people and ducked into a dark alley, waiting for any sort of help at all. Redorus and Ayla headed off to the nearest market to find some cheap robes. Ignatius stood watch over the incoming boat. Tilton and Helga made for a small eatery near the old walls, planning to meet up with the rest of the gang later.
Redorus and Ayla found a tolerable little clothier several stadia away. The merchant was a bit surprised by the half-naked armor-toting soldier and his bald-headed female companion, but kept her mouth shut and didn’t gouge them too much. When they got back to Calliope, the guards from the island were pressing the locals for information, but not getting anywhere. Unfortunately, just as Redorus and Ayla made it to Calliope’s alley, the junior priest from the island recognized them, and the chase was on. Ignatius knocked over a crate in the guards’ path and made a run for it, followed by everyone else – including Calliope, once she’d covered herself in her new robes. Redorus stuck around long enough to giving a solid beating to one of the guards, but quickly rejoined the others.
Running through the streets laden down with armor and coin was problematic, and it was clear that the group couldn’t stay ahead of the guards forever, so eventually, having taken just a bit of a lead, they kicked in a doorway in a back alley and ducked inside. The guards went right on by while the group took stock of their new hideout.
They’d barged into a little room with nearly nothing in it: no windows, no doors, no witnesses. Just one low little bed and a horribly abused corpse.
The body had been badly mangled. Its head, feet, and hands were gone, along with at least some of its organs. The chest wounds seemed brutally inflicted; there was nothing surgical about them. Despite this, there was almost no blood spilled in the room beyond a few drops. The body was cold, but not rotting. Calliope decided it was probably a woman, and found a strange black tattoo on its back: a flower, with wings in place of the leaves on its stem.
Ayla didn’t want anything to do with the creepy back room and went out to survey the front of the building. There was a sign for a jeweler, but the shop was locked up tight and seemed abandoned. When Ayla saw a little bit of light moving around inside, she went back to the rear to alert the others, but found that they were the cause of it. Calliope had found a hollow in the rear wall and Redorus had broken through the plaster, revealing a door between the front and rear parts of the building. Up front, she and Redorus found nothing but a dusty stone counter and a small metal lock box, which she took with her.
The gang decided to deal with this mystery later, and headed back toward the old walls, but the guard was still on the lookout, and eventually they were spotted and chased. Ayla clouded the minds of the pursuers with a vision of a great conflagration in the road. While they called for the fire brigade, the four made a run for it and finally caught up with Tilton and Helga, who wondered what took so long. The guards at the old city walls didn’t seem to have been informed about the fugitives, and everyone enjoyed the leisurely stroll back to the Dirty Red Table.
The landlady wasn’t so pleased to see the gang, though, and complained bitterly about the in and out of unannounced delivery men all afternoon. While she carried on, Calliope quietly slinked upstairs to their rooms and had a lookout for anything suspicious. She found nothing, but noted an intense, meaty, mouth-watering odor coming from behind their doors. Redorus joined her and they burst in to find their (usually quite bare) table laden with all manner of delights: fresh breads, fish, pork, figs, dates, cheeses, pears, leaks, parsnips, egg, mushroom, baklava, and a jug of fine wine. Moreover, beside each glass was a gold solidus!
There was no note or explanation, but that didn’t stop everyone from tucking in and eating until ready to burst.
Befil Feth arrived, as promised, shortly after six. He was offered leftovers (which he accepted gladly) and Calliope apologized: they’d already solved their own problem, and wouldn’t need his help. He wasn’t too upset, and said he already knew what happened. The inner city had still been busy with guards when he passed through, and he had a guess how Ayla, Redorus, and Calliope had lost their hair. He gave them some bad news, though: it wasn’t likely that their hair would ever grow back, and if it did, it might be… _different_.
When he left, he said he’d still be happy to hear from them again, if they were looking for work – one the heat had died down, anyway.