Corunglain (20 Sviftmont 997 AC)
Janice Wynn put out the cigarette just as Chord sat down, biting her lip in anticipation. She disliked being in this position, but things had become desperate. The fool had risked his life travelling to the one destination where clergy were forbidden.
“Well, I did it. I gave the envelope just as you asked,” Chord said, while attempting to catch a waitress’s attention. “So, what now?” Chord liked the high walled-city, but he knew that their time in Corunglain would be brief. He made a mental note that he would have to return one day.
“Did you have any trouble?” asked Janice, avoiding the question, reaching unconsciously for another cigarette.
“A little. When did you start smoking?” Chord had known Janice for almost two years, and in that time he had never known her to touch a cigarette, but these were not ordinary times for the Company. They had been on Gotryk’s trail for just over a month, ever since they had been summoned to Fort Hobart by an old friend of the Preacher’s, a Commander Jeremiah ‘Mudd’ Arundel, who had informed them of the events that had transpired as relayed by Gotryk’s letter to him.
“When I was 15. What do you mean a little?” queried Janice, getting annoyed with the waitress which had approached their table.
“One Halfling Cider for me please,” Chord made a motion towards Janice’s empty glass. She shook her head. “That is all, thank you,” he added before giving the waitress a quick look-over as she turned to place his order.
“Well?” Janice asked, as soon as the waitress left.
“He wanted to know, who the message was from; was quite insistent. Honestly, it became rather tense. I thought he wouldn’t let me leave,” Chord replied matter-of-factly, remembering his exchange with the moneylender.
“You didn’t tell him? Tell me you didn’t tell him, I explicitly told you –,” shot back a rather alarmed Janice, as a momentary panic overtook her.
“No, of course not,” Chord said, holding up his hands defensively, “you said not to. I told him it was an old friend who preferred to remain anonymous.”
The youngest member of the Company was rather surprised by her reaction. He was aware there had been history between her and some of the past members of the Company, but no one had offered up any details especially about him. Mills had called the entire situation stupid and had said little else on the matter. Croaker, in typical Croaker-fashion, had simply offered a lewd gesture as an explanation while Montano had promised to tell him the day he was to become a full-fledged member of the group.
Only Aidan was kind enough to provide him any insight, hinting that the issue involved Gotryk and how the relationship between men can become complicated as soon as a woman enters the equation.
“He assured me Mr Matheson would get the letter that evening,” added Chord.
Janice sighed in relief while easing back into her chair, raising the newly lit cigarette to her lips. The moneylender’s reply confirmed that he was in the city or at least he would be tonight. If this was to work, Fingers was not to know she was behind the message. He would never agree to see her if he knew she was the one who had made the request, of that she was certain.
“So, I take it we wait,” Chord stated, more so than questioned. Janice gently nodded.
The waitress returned with Chord’s drink. Janice gave Chord a quizzically look.
“I dunno, I like it, it’s deliciously sweet. And cheap,” he said defensively, before taking a swig.
Cheap Janice thought. Thank Asterius for that. Money was becoming an issue: With Gotryk having withdrawn the entire Company’s savings, Janice was starting to feel the pinch. The monies Gotryk had arranged to be given to her by Captain Arundel had run out fast. Information, bribery but most importantly their unorthodox excursion into the elven homelands, in an effort to save time, had been financially taxing. However it had all been for naught, as they had still missed Gotryk by a week.
“So,” began Chord, “how can this Fingers-fellow help us find Gotryk?” asked Chord.
Janice took a moment to answer. “He works for Corun House. They practically own this city outright. Their primary trade happens in Glantri and Ethengar and chances are we are going to need the assistance of Corun House agents in the principalities. My time with Umbarth House obviously never permitted me to develop any close relationships with the Coruns and remember I cut ties with Umbarth House , the only other major merchant house, besides the Coruns which trades with Glantri.”
Chord marvelled at her forethought.
“Also back in the day, Fingers had the extraordinary ability of networking, I can only imagine what a person with that particular skill-set could do with the infrastructure and support of a Darokinian power-house behind him. The contacts he would have developed in the principalities would be invaluable. ”
Let’s hope he has forgiven me, Janice thought to herself.