Taydoday Shortly after midnight
Greiip poked his head out and looked up the street both ways. The soldier had made plenty of noise running out but he couldn't be heard any more. A bulky chap in a stained apron looked out of the partially demolished door and across to Greiip. Their gazes met for a moment before, with a loud slam, the pub was abruptly closed for the night. Greiip sat down and pulled his knees up close . The hot days seemed to give way to really cold nights and he had been getting comfortable in that room. Where Fawnwater was a bustling market town Dawnforest was one of those smaller dwellings that sit on the peripherals of such places and didn't seem to have a night life as such.
“I'm guessing that was the only place to stay?” asked Greiip.
Karndal looked at his wrist “this late at night certainly”.
“What are you looking at?” asked Greiip.
“Oh, I had something stuck to my wrist there, anyway we should move, that soldier might come back”.
Karndal stuck his head out for a look.
“I saw river barges moored up on the way in” said Greiip shivering against the cold, “perhaps we could hitch a ride back to Fawnwater on one of those”
Karndal was still looking around the corner.
“Oi, you deaf, what do you think?”
Karndal took a step backwards “I think, that we quite possibly may have a slightly problematic situation developing rather suddenly”.
Greiip stood up just as the soldier came around the corner, the tip of a long knife resting against Karndal's gut. The two hand axes had been sheathed across the man's back, which made the fact he had chosen to opt for a knife instead inexplicably scarier. The light from a torch sconce in the street cast a mottled red glow across the chainmail but beneath that was the blue and black dyed Rorebas hide that they both recognised from the attack on the convoy in Echo hills. The leather and mail creaked and jangled as the armoured shape advanced. Greiip launched into his signature move quickly and aimed a kick at the soldiers groin but an armoured shin shot up to meet his own with a degree of pain much like that he had been trying to inflict. He made a gurgle scream and toppled over clutching his leg. A muffled laugh came from inside the helmet.
“That might have bought you a few moments but I doubt it would have had the same effect on me as the other one” mumbled a strange sounding voice.
A moments hesitation ran through Greiip “Oh my, your not a”
The soldier pulled up the metal helmet “yes, I'm a woman”
Greiip spread his hands
“Oh Roork I'm so sorry, I really didn't mean to try to kick you”
“It's okay” she said “you came off worse”.
“I know, but no it's not okay” Greiip began to take off his cloak.
“Yeah, you should be ashamed of yourself” said Karndal taking a step towards to Greiip. He gave a subtle nod and dashed past suddenly, grabbing the bag of booty as he went. Greiip flung his cloak in the soldiers face and turned tail in pursuit of Karndal. Behind they heard cursing and the sound of heavy boots giving chase. The back alleys of Dawnforest were narrow and dark and provided much detritus to put between them and the pursuer. After some time they stopped running and gathered their breath. “Is she still following us?” asked Greiip. Karndal poked his head around the corner and stopped.
“Your not going to believe this” he said.
“Seriously?” said Greiip completely defeated
“That was a neat trick” said the soldier backing Karndal up with a long knife resting in his gut. She flung Greiip's cloak back at him
“How do you keep doing that?” said Karndal.
“Trick of the trade, now lads, this is getting repetitive. Nort asked you a simple question before you kicked him in the balls, why did you intrude on our office?”
“I told your friend Nort, I was looking for a place to take a piss”.
“Yes and judging by the fact he tried to hit you over the head with a sword afterwards tells me he believed that as much as I do. There were dozens of rooms in that corridor, why ours? Was it the eye?”
“Dammit I told them it was a daft idea to carve that on the outside”.
“What's she talking about Greiip?” asked Karndal.
“There was a closed eye carved in a door, I looked, I shouldn't have”
“Oh, you mean like the one we got on that piece of parchment?” said Karndal smiling at having figured something out. Greiip screwed up his eyes in annoyance.
“Oh bugger” he said to himself.
“Well that answers my next question” said the Soldier. Do you have it still?”
Greiip opened his diary and rifled through to the 19fr where he had tucked it. No point in trying to hide it now. The lady looked at the image and back at them both.
“This is bad for you two” she said “there's a code hidden amongst the symbol, it doesn't spell a happy future for anyone who can read this discovering it on you”.
“Okay two things” said Greiip “just to establish by unhappy future you mean death and or torture?”
“In either order” said the soldier.
“Right, however you didn't end your sentence with 'I'm afraid' which would have meant you intended to carry out those orders. The fact you phrased what you said such leads me to believe we're now about to enter into a situation whereby you coerce us using this threat of death”.
She chuckled “so your not as stupid as you smell, good”
“Rather pointless though” said Greiip “seeing as your a one ma, er woman army anyway”
“That's not how I work, I'm no thug but this, I can use this”
“So what do you want from us?” asked Karndal starting to grasp what had happened.
“Your adventurers I'm guessing. Roork knows how you got that clanking bag of booty though”.
Karndal took a protective step in front of the booty. They had wrapped it up in a sheet from the inn, It's bespoke whiteness making it visible in the moonlight.
“Don't worry I'm not a thief either. I have, shall we say, some indirectly illegal business ventures. Nothing the Fragment would care too much about but I prefer to avoid involving fellow brothers or sisters in such matters. As such I'm short on brain power and muscle. I'm guessing your about one and a half of those things so you work for me now. Where are you set up?”
“Fawnwater” said Greiip.
“Excellent I was planning to go by there soon anyway, what's wrong with your friend?”
They looked at Karndal, his mouth wide open, eyes fixed on the soldier.
“You're with the Fragment?” he said, his words barely a croak “oh my Roork, I didn't know you had militarised”.
“You're probably one of the first outside of the movement who does, so it should be really easy to know who to kill should the secret get out too early, got it?”
Greiip looked at him confused.
“I'll tell you later” managed the young lad horsely. Greiip shrugged.
“So if we're working for you should we know your name?”
“My friends call me Ru” said the soldier.
“Right, Ru it is then” said Greiip with a tired sigh.
“No, I said my friends call me Ru, you can call me, hmm, boss. Okay?”
“Fine, did you want to go to Fawnwater now, boss?”
“Sounds good, best I know where to find you if you try any funny business. Lend me your cloak back this armour is a tad conspicuous”.
She slung Greiip's cloak around her shoulders. It hid the regalia but still showed there was armour underneath. Ru patted Greiip on the shoulder.
“Come on cheer up, It'll be fun working together, you'll see. At dawn we can hop a ride on a river barge. Pretty good idea don't you think?”