Chapter 7 - Things That Go BOOM In The Night

After interrogating Diamondback, as she called herself, Viselys gave a nod to Idae and told him to head to her place on the corner of Dredger's Lane and Bait Street in the Azure District.

Idae droped the majority of his gear, taking with him only a dagger, his Potion of Swimming (which he poured into his hip flask), and the magic Slippers of Spider-Climbing.

As he headed outside, the Wormfall Festival seemed to have diminished a bit at the late hour, but it was still by no means quiet in the streets. Idae accessed his options for covering the distance to Diamondback’s flat. He could walk, but that would take a while. Plus, even though the crowds had diminished, they were by no means gone, and he really wanted to avoid as much attention as possible. The other option was a short swim.

He made his way down Vine Street, past The Inner Labryinth, past Featherwhisperer's, and past Barrister's Guildhall towards the water. Idae took out his hip flask, staggered over to the bank of the waterway like a drunkard and slugged back the drink like he was taking a nip. Then, with a quick glance around he dove in.

The potion was amazing. He was able to cross the distance entirely underwater, not requiring a breath until he arrived as close to Diamondback’s flat as the water route would allow. He broke the surface, pulled himself onto the wharf, and tried to assess the scene.

He was behind Best Bait & Desserts with the sweet smell of honey-glazed buns and fishy chum filling the air (yum). In honor of the festival, they were staying open 24 hours/day "to support your baked good and bait needs!" Unfortunately, that meant that most of the crowds had moved this way to nibble the night away. This made not being seen a difficult task.

"Oi! Idae! Is that you? Why are you all wet?" he heard a voice call out to him in the Thieves' Cant. Idae recognized Ol' Lefty, one of the Shadowshore Boys. "C'mon, let me buy you something to eat. We need to talk."

In a very hushed, but firm voice, which warned his old cohort to keep his voice down, too, Idae ushers him to the shadows of a nearby alleyway. “Cheese it, mate! I’m on a game. Wha’ you tryin’ a do, cry beef? Look, mate, you got to forget ya seen me. I’m shammin' muert. Nobody can know I’m still drawing breath.”

"Alright, alright. Is it true what the boys are sayin'? Word around Shadowshore is that you were part of a group of do-gooders that came in disruptin' the Lotus? Done shook the thing to bits and now we're havin' to find new ways of takin' care of ourselves. When they said you was with a pig from the Cudgel, I figure that they're playin' me. This true?" Lefty looked around cautiously.

“Oh, Lefty, I’m playin’ the long con. This is a big one! You got no idea. This goes way beyond Lotus Dragons. Trust me. I ain’t got time to explain it, an’ is probably all for the good you don’ know nothin’, nohow. For yeh own protection! Lefty, this is BIG stuff, understand? The Dragons weren’t what the boys think. Let me put it this way: They used up Shefton, an’ neyh got me, too. I just barely binged. That’s why ya’ gotta forget ya’ seen me. They think I’m crashed, and I need them to keep thinkin’ it.

“Here, let’s say you was the head of the Lotus Dragons, an’ you wanted to shore up a family – run the whole game in Sasserine. How would ya’ do it? Recruit? Sure, ‘kay. But what do you do with birds of a feather like the Shadowshore Boys? We takes care of our own, we do, an’ our own comes before any else. You need absolute loyalty. So mightn’t you spread a rumor to drive a wedge? Crash the ones what ain’t buyin’? Huh? Sounds like a good plan if ya’ was planning on take over the town, huh? Shefton didn’t buy. He’s a Shadowshore boy – was. Anyway, don’t believe what they say, an’ don’ let the boys, either. You know me, mate.

“One more thing…There’s another flock what’s bigger than the Dragons ever was.” Idae knodded (sic) and winked with a crooked grin.

Lefty considered Idae’s words, "Bigger than the Lotus, eh? Well, don't go forgettin' those what got you from where you were to where you are. And for me, that's fine, but not everyone's as…forgiving…as I am, ya know? You might want to watch your back as many o' the boys aren't too happy.

"Still, I don't mean to keep you if you're on a sham, as you say. I'll do what I can to let the boys know what you're sayin' about the Lotus, but I'm not sure they'll listen to Ol' Lefty, neither. They're not happy about one of our own running about with a bobby. It might not be a bad idea for you to disappear for a while, y'know?" He suddenly looked a little paranoid. "Hmm…I best be on my way. Ol' Lefty's been busy too. Good luck, Idae."

"Ah, you was always one o' the sharpies, ya' were. You know enough not to jump to conclusions as things ain't always what they seem. And, no, I'd never forget me mates. Once a Shadowshore Boy, always a Shadowshore Boy, sure as me name's ‘Idae!’ You'll see. They'll all see. I'm gonna make the big score, and all the boys will share in it. Just don't hold yer breath. When I say 'the long con,' I mean the LONG con. Take care, mate. Stay always true and free!"

Ol' Lefty nervously stepped away to disappear into the remnants of the crowd outside of the bakery. He looked to be trying to avoid someone or something. Heading down the road towards Diamondback's place, Idae saw plumes of black smoke looking especially eerie with all the green lanterns billowing into the sky from the furnaces of the Dredger's Guildhall. Diamondback's home was just around the corner. The area was conveniently un-congested as the smoke tended to drive people away. Diamondback's place looked to be a two-story loft.

Idae first walked around the building to do a preliminary case, though he stayed well clear of the front door, remembering Diamondback’s warning. Then, when he was reasonably sure things were clear, he pulled on the slippers and went for a window on the second floor around the back of the house. Peering inside, it looked to be a meticulously clean bedroom.

“If it looks too good to be true, it probably is,” Idae thought to himself. He did a close inspection for some sort of trap or alarm. Then, holding his breath, he slunk in.

“BOOM!” he thought, chuckling to himself.

The floor creaked a bit, but the first thing to catch his eye was the fact that the place was spotless. There was a place for everything, and everything was in its place. A few beautiful paintings of sunsets adorned the walls. A small bed, with the bedsheets all perfectly laid upon it rested in one corner. A mirrored closet resided on one wall. A desk, with parchment and an ink well perfectly organized upon it sat up against another wall. Above the desk were some bookshelves upon which sat, in alphabetical order, many books. At the end of the books, holding them in place rested a cloth sack.

First, he checked the desk. Scanning the parchment, he saw that it was blank; probably stationary. Going through the drawers just revealed typical "desk-type" things. Some binders, glue, etc. There didn't appear to be any false backs or bottoms. In one drawer, however, he found a group of papers that seemed to be detailing the tendencies of the guards of the various districts in Sasserine. Of note was the fact that the name Viselys Mortaum appeared in the papers about the Cudgel District with a note saying, "Does not bargain." Idae took these papers and turned to the bookshelf.

Glancing across the book spines, several titles struck his interest. Looking into the bag, it appeared to be empty. Oddly, though, was the fact that it weighed about 15 lbs. Taking a pen from the desk, he dropped it into the bag and it promptly disappeared from sight. Reaching in to retrieve the pen revealed nothing in the bag. ‘…but I know I dropped that pen in there…” he thought to himself. Suddenly he felt the pen and pulled it out of the bag.

Turning the bag upside down and out, many items came spilling out, the first of which appeared to be a stone that hit the ground with a loud BOOM (oh, the irony, he thought). As his ears rang, he realized that he could hear nothing else, having gone deaf.

Idae realized he was in a bad situation now. The noise may have attracted somebody’s attention. However, without being able to hear, he wound not know if someone was approaching. As quickly as he could, Idae scooped everything back into the bag with the exception of a wheelbarrow that had a flat tire. Almost as an afterthought, he took the four books he had been interested in, dropping them into the bag, also, and slipped out the window, up to the roof.

From the roof, Idae could see in all directions and would spot anybody coming to investigate the explosion. After about three minutes nobody had arrived, and he could still only hear the ringing in his ears. Relatively confidant that nobody was coming, he climbed down and checked to see that nobody who might have been within the house had arrived. Then he re-entered the room.

Quickly, but quietly (he hoped) Idae took each book, two at a time by the spine and shook them to see if there were any pages that fell out or recessed compartments. There were none on both counts. No secret compartments behind the books, either. He spent about fifteen minutes rooting through the place. In the closet, he found another black leotard with the skeleton imprint, several fancy dresses, one of which was a pink frilly puff of a dress causing him to frown in confusion, and some casual clothing. Not knowing what Diamondback might prefer under the circumstances, he took all of it rather than hazard a guess.

Heading downstairs, he found a simple kitchen and living room area. Everything was meticulously clean and organized. Inside a cage in the living room was a parrot. It appeared as though it was squawking and saying something, but of course he could not hear it. Realizing that a talking bird might, by chance, offer useful information, he took the bird, cage and all, and put it into the magic bag.

Decorations in the Wormfall Festival theme adorned the living room, as well as a book about the heroes who stopped Kyuss in the fateful battle during the "Age of Worms" and it became one more book for the collection in the magic bag.

Fairly certain that there was nothing more to find, Idae took his newly acquired magic bag full of goodies, and headed back for Vanderboren Manor. With the potion still in effect, the water route made the trip much faster…

Continue to Chapter 8...

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