I Won A Pirate (RP)

(For those of you who don’t know, the old Gentyl is dead. This character is her cousin and she is not the same as the old paladin. This is a bit of an introduction to her and it’s open rp. If someone wants to play the pirate she found, feel free. She will be gathering a crew.)

Orwyn and the Stormwind Union had planned a demonstration of their skills and methods for the afternoon and Gen planned on being there. It would be good to not only scout out his people, but also their tactics. So thoughtful of him to show the world.

She had the same family name and a very similar appearance. That ran deep in the D’Amond family. They could have been sisters, twin sisters almost instead of cousins. She’d laid low, keeping a very quiet profile since arriving in town. People accepted her. Some treated her almost as if she were her sweet cousin. She had been a bodyguard to Bishop Lamay for many years and that required a certain amount of . . . flint due to the price on his head. When he objected to some of her methods of protection, they agreed it might be time to part ways. Some people are just squeamish about decorating walls with dead assassins. Not Gen. It was a valuable warning to other would-be assassins.

She would have left anyway after her cousin’s death. True enough, Gentyl killed herself technically with her own cooking, but someone had sent the tainted wheat to Hearthglen. They thought they found it all and destroyed it, but apparently not. Gentyl wasn’t allowed to cook. The gnomes set up alarm bots in the kitchen to keep her out, but she was determined to learn to cook and found some flour and baked some bread over a small campfire. Later, when the symptoms appeared, they figured out it was the plagued flour. She asked a hunter friend to kill her and they cremated her body. That was the letter Gen received. Now Gen had two things she intended to do. Make enough money for a massive manhunt and then hunt down the people responsible. Then she would kill them slowly and painfully. She was not her cousin.

She’d been thinking about this for a while. There was money in smuggling if you smuggled the right things and didn’t get caught. There was money in jewels. There was money in piracy. There was money in drugs. There was money in controlling all these things. She wasn’t particularly interested in smuggling, but she could find people who were. She was interested in . . .privateering. That sounded so much better than pirating. Drugs, she shrugged. People needed relief from the pain of life. Alcohol or drugs, what was the difference? Plus, the drug she had in mind was of another sort.

Faithe had been kept captive by a Goblin Lord for months. Drugged. Kept as a pet. Faithe knew where his caches were. She knew where the formula for the drug that kept the slaves and animals docile was. Gen would get the formula and make the drug. She’d sell it for use in taming unruly animals and advertise it to be so safe even a human can drink it. What the person buying it did with it was up to them. She wasn’t their conscience. Slavery was illegal after all. She chuckled.

Orwyn was the same as always. Dear gods the man was boring as cracked mud. On he droned. She tried to imagine him at a romantic dinner and almost fell asleep. Still, he wasn’t to be underestimated. Even a cornered kitten will go all fangs and claws and this man had a righteous rod of law up his . . . back. He would be dangerous if she wasn’t careful.

Orwyn explained how they searched for things, contraband. This might be interesting. Gen searched through various piles and found a few things, but not what she was looking for. At last she hit the crates of cloth. There he was. “Oh, thank you, Orwyn! I get the grand prize. A pirate.”

“Uh, he’s not a prize.”

He was drunk. He wasn’t supposed to be drunk, but she wasn’t surprised. He’s a pirate after all and he was probably bored waiting and listening. “I’m keeping him.” She got out her rope and made a show of tying him up. No one noticed her slip the paper out of his shirt and into her bag.

“Slavery is illegal,” Orwyn reminded.

“Eh, he won’t mind being kept by me.”

“Gen . . . I think something may be wrong. Perhaps you should see some of my medical staff?”

“Oh, no sir. Your medical staff can get their own pirate. This one is mine. Stop purloining my game. He needs healing and I’m a healer.”

Orwyn sighed and gave up. “All right, I guess Gen found a pirate. Congratulations.”

A woman in the crowd peered around. “Is he cute?”

“I don’t heal ugly pirates.” She hoisted him up and helped him stagger over to some stage then tied his feet to make sure he wouldn’t wander off. With him thoroughly trussed up, she returned to the games.

Then they had a game with blindfolds. Orwyn passed out one to everyone, including a blind girl with a blindfold over her eyes. You can never be too careful, I guess. “You have a lot of blindfolds, Orwyn. Is there something you want to share?” He ignored her. “Can I buy this from you when we’re done?”

“You can have it,” Orwyn huffed.

One of his men muttered something about not encouraging such behavior.

They went through another game of guessing and then on to what Gen was really interested in, intercepting a wagon that might have contraband. They were painstaking thorough and insulting. Really? Questioning the care of his horses which looked fine.

They arrested the driver, of course.

“Don’t say anything,” Gen said. “I’ll get you a lawyer. Say not one word. Not one.”

He was large, well-built and looked like a sailor. Who knows? Maybe he’d like to return to the sea when he got out of jail. She flashed a smile at him.

They lost the keys to the handcuffs. Typical. “I’ll buy the handcuffs. No keys needed. I’ll just take the man in them too,” she said.

“You’re not going to sell her handcuffs, are you?” one of his men protested.

“That’s all right,” Orwyn said. “These are universal handcuffs. I have a key.”

“Darn.” Gen looked disappointed.

As it turned out, the driver was one of Orwyn’s men. Alas.

She went to the Recluse later to get a drink. Rose joined her and was mixing odd drinks as was her wont. She was a heck of a fire mage, and sometimes mixed interesting drinks, but Gen stuck to whiskey, because every now and then things just got away from her. They visited for a while until and man and woman came in. Gen recognized the type. They spoke about ordinary things. Little hints dropped. Nothing very telling to an unsuspecting ear. They were smugglers or missing a very good chance.

The night wore on, more open discussions. Yes, they’d be interested in some business. Rose mixed another drink and . . . keeled over dead.

“Well, fire take her. She’s killed herself again. Hold on.” Gen revived her. “Rose, you really must be more careful with those concoctions.”

“Yes, that wasn’t the one I thought it was.”

Gen turned back to the couple. “I’ll require some secrecy and of course, you’ll have to avoid that crew we watched earlier.”

The woman nodded. “Yes, that’s why we were at the demonstration. Let us know what you want and when.”

“All right. I need to go tend to my pirate.” She returned to where she’d left him and cut him loose. “Wake up, Jack. We need to talk.”

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With the pirate awake and in a private area, Gen gleaned the information she was hoping for. They had captured a fast little sloop that was perfect for her needs. It was undergoing refitting and repairs now.

Unfortunately, it had come at a heavy cost in men and she would have to recruit heavily to replace most of the crew for the new ship. She would maintain an alliance with Roberts and pay him well for his services, but he could not furnish her a crew.

She also needed people on land to carry out operations. There was money in a lot of things. Information. Drugs. Contraband of all sorts. Exotics.

She sent a note to an old acquaintance she thought might be interested.

Sigren

Can you meet me about a matter that might be of interest to you?

Gen

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Sigren gnawed on the stub of a cigar as she stared at her cards. She’d learned long ago that she didn’t need to have much of a poker face as long as she had plenty of cleavage, and she’d been using that to her advantage all night.

She was hunched over a thick slab of heavily scarred wood that passed for a table at the Pig & Whistle, waiting for the dwarf across from her to decide whether to fold. He was scratching his beard thoughtfully, but his eyes kept wandering to the elf’s chest. Sig rolled her eyes.

“Just fold already, shorty, I got places to be,” she grumbled. She didn’t, really, but she also didn’t have a hand.

The dwarf sighed and started to fold, and before his cards were on the table, Sig was sweeping the pot into the battered tri-corner hat she’d won earlier in the night. She grinned as she tossed her cards down, took a last swig of her cheap mead and stood up.

“It’s been fun, we should definitely do it again sometime,” she said pleasantly. Men liked cleavage, but not enough to overlook gloating. There were scowls and muttering, but it wasn’t a lot of coin and she had bought the drinks. As she turned to leave, one of her lookout urchins stepped in from the doorway and raised his chin at her. He handed her a folded note as they silently crossed paths, and they disappeared in different directions in the grimy bustle of Old Town.

She frowned curiously after reading the simple note. A great many matters were of interest to her, after all, and she wasn’t sure which of them Gen could be referring to. She turned the paper over as she shoved the hat full of poker winnings under her arm, searching her pockets until she produced a stub of a pencil.

Gen:

My place or yours?

Sig

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((Honestly, we all thought Gen was hallucinating, so this is quite a turn of events. lol))

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Silk sauntered into Gen’s office and handed her a note. “Message, Mistress. Minion is waiting for reply.” She wrinkled up her nose.

“All right.” Gen jotted out a hasty reply.

She was meeting with Wolfgaar’s brother later. If she could meet with Sigren at the same time, that might save some time.

Silk returned and sprawled across the couch like a large cat, watching her. “You going to hire elf?”

“If I can. I need some help around here since you can’t seem to let Jack come up for air.”

There was a bored shrug. “Nothing else to do.” She raised a brow as if something had just occurred to her. “You saving him for you? I can find another pet.”

“Not particularly, but once we get under sail, you’re going to have to curb your appetites a bit.”

“Why?”

Gen set her pen aside. “I’ll think of a reason.”

“Better be good one.” She wriggled her fingers at her and slipped out, no longer interested in conversation.

Gentyl had left quite a bit of money behind, but it wouldn’t last forever. Plus, Gen had her own money. Still, she’d have to turn a profit soon. Crime paid, but it also took money to grease the wheels and it would take a lot of money to fit that ship. It would have to be renamed. She had people removing all traces of the former name even now just in case someone stumbled across it in that hidden cove. She was leaning towards the name Maiden’s Revenge, but hadn’t made up her mind yet. Maiden’s something. She finished putting the final touches on the flag. Two crossbones in the background with a maiden dancing with death over them in the foreground. Death being a skeleton. The flag would be larger than normal. When they raised their colors, she wanted no doubts in the minds of her victims the maiden was about to dance with them.

If her smugglers could get that goblin’s drug formula, that would make a lot of money. She wasn’t interested in slaving, but anyone who was, would pay a fortune for that stuff and she’d turn it out in a lab she controlled. She heard someone say once the goblin had bragged, he could take any noble and make her compliant in a matter of days. No more than two weeks for the most determined. Powerful if true, and she believed it was.

She already had buyers for stolen artifacts as soon as the smugglers secured the formula. There would be plenty of work for them, or another if she found the right person. Weapons were already waiting as well as buyers. There was always a market for liquor. Information was going to be tantamount to success as well as being lucrative. Blackmail always paid well if you had the right information on the right people. Plus, peace or no peace, secrets still passed hands every day. She intended to cash in on that. Lastly, she needed a good assassin or two. There were some debts to settle and she’d be making new enemies. The pumpkin patch could use some fertilizer.

She’d have to find someone to sell legitimate goods as well. She’d bring enough standard fare to hopefully keep Orwyn and his crew off guard, though they were going to be a pain in the *^% anyway.

Abon could recut jewels from stolen goods. If she could keep her away from Silk. If not, one of these days Orwyn was going to be wondering why small bits of gnome were being used as fish bait in the harbor. Why couldn’t she just shut her mouth and leave that elf alone?

Last week, Silk gagged the gnome and tied her to the figurehead of a ship. If someone hadn’t noticed her, they’d have sailed off with the gnome into the wind.

She’d have to find someone to forge documents on other goods if they brought them into Stormwind.

Silk looked up from what she was doing when Gen walked out of her quarters. “Want me to go with you, Boss?”

“Uh, no. Don’t you have a room?”

“Thanks,” Jack mumbled.

“I’m going to meet Wolf’s brother and Sigren hopefully. I’ll be back later tonight.”

“Mphmph.”

Gen waited upstairs at the appointed tavern. She’d reserved a private room thankfully as it was packed with all manner of people. A woman waved at her and made small talk. Friendly enough and Gen soon realized it was a priest she had fought with long ago. A candle witch she called herself. She could use a good candle witch. Too bad she was already bound to a cavalry.

Before too long a young man matching the description she was looking for walked in. She waved.

He smiled tentatively and bowed. “Hael…You are… Gentyl?”

She returned the smile and bowed. “And hail to you. I am.”

“I am Haethulf the Aetheling, son of Æthelred, son of Hroðgar. Brother to Wolfgaar.”

“I am Gentyl D’Amond. Dottir of Sensor D’Amond, dottir of Keiran D’Amond, cousin of Gentyl D’Amond the Second.”

He raised a brow in surprise. “Your speech… “dottir”… it zounds very much like the speech of my cynn.”

Cynn. That was the word for clan if she recalled correctly. “I am somewhat familiar with your people and say it to honor you. My people and your people were of a kinship long ago. Let’s repair to a room I’ve reserved where we may speak in private.”

He nodded and followed her, taking a chair next to her and looking about the room. There was definitely a family resemblance though he was more fair complected, with strawberry blond hair, with pale moss green eyes. He might have been a lumberjack with those broad shoulders and muscular build and had probably spent much of his life working with wood, but there was also the look of the sea about him. It was always there with these men. One of Orwyn’s men had it.

Though clean shaven, there was a heavy red stubble gracing his cheeks this late in the afternoon. The waitress came in as soon as they were settled and took their orders. Gen asked for a plate of meats and cheeses to be sent also. Wolf was fond of meads and thought that might be agreeable, though she waited to see if Haethulf wanted something else besides the pitcher of mead. He poured a glass and offered her one, seemingly content.

Once the waitress left and closed the door, he said, “How can I be of þéowdóm?”

Straight to the point. She liked that. “This is a rather delicate matter. I have, if you will forgive me, researched your family a bit. You are, if I understand correctly, people of the sea.”

“Ah… your rezearch iz gód. Ve are a people of ze sea.”

How to put this to him without coming right out and saying she intended to plunder the seas and burn down everyone who got in her path? “Your brother is a very kind and noble man.”

He smiled. “Your kindness is guð willspell. He haz been in these land much more time than I. He is much more… good… at zis language.”

A soft chuckle escapes. “He is very good, yes, but you’re doing fine.”

“It is struggle for me yet.”

“Lord Wolfgaar is above reproach. Very…law abiding. A paladin to the core.”

He nods. “I have not seen him in many years. I vas very surprise when I receive word from him. He thought me still in ze Hinterlonds. He knew not I had begun adventuring.”

Her eyes light up a bit. Wolf hadn’t mentioned this. He thought the young man was still at home and not out adventuring. Perhaps a wanderlust had taken hold of him. If so, that might be even better. “He tells me that you have some knowledges of ships.”

He nods in a gesture of thanks for the kind words spoken about his brother. “Yes… I am a brimliðend, spend much time at sea with my people.”

“And you know ship repairs?”

He finishes slicing off some ham and hands her a piece, with a matter-of-fact look. “I have build ships. I know them well.”

Wolf hadn’t told her that and she didn’t hide her surprise well she was sure. She accepted the ham with a nod of thanks. “I’ve taken possession of a fast little sloop of war that’s in need of repair. She’s been a bit…molested. She’s still afloat and limped into harbor, but is not in good shape. I understand you might also be trusted to be very discreet. And you may not want to be involved after I share this with you. I need her repaired and refitted. I need it done quietly.”

If he was unsettled at this, he showed no sign and only nodded. “I vill look at her. Can you take me to this scip?”

“She’s in a cove near Booty Bay. I didn’t want Orwyn and his crew snooping around her. We’ll have to deal with them sooner or later, but I’d rather it be later.”

He sliced off another piece of ham for himself and some cheese and put it on one of the fat rolls, completely nonplussed. “Is this for… morþor?”

She’d been around Wolf long enough she knew much of the language, but she didn’t recognize that. “I don’t understand that word.”

His brow knitted into a frown as he struggled for the right word. He continued chewing, thinking for a moment, his hand gesturing as he thinks…

”Is this to be a …þéofscip?"

“I will be raiding the seas until they bleed red. She’s a pirate ship or privateer if we want to be more polite.”

Haethulf smiles wryly for a moment and then places his right hand over his right eye. “Pirate scip I vill see to her for you - for my bróþor, of course. He speaks highly of you.”

“Does he?”

The door opens and the waitress brings in another pitcher of mead and lays out some moor cheese and meat. Gen thanks her and hands her a gold coin. “We’ll need another glass if you don’t mind.”

"The man nods and pours more mead. “He speaks highly of you. You are lady of nobility.”

Gen laughs at that. “Hardly, but how sweet.”

“To other lady. Masts? What many?”

“Three. She’s a shallow draft so I’ll be able to get into some coves the man o wars can’t. She’s fast and maneuverable, when she’s seaworthy.”

He taps his fingers together, thinking. “Ah. Much more big than a langscip. But I can do this for you. Is there place I can verk there? This cove?”

"Yes, and I need some special modifications made to her also. She’ll need more guns. I need enough fire power to run off all but the biggest and I can outrun the men of war if I need to.

“What else verk do you vant done?”

“Some other things I can point out to you when you see her.”

Like many men do when they think, he rubs his chin. She can almost feel the faint scritching. “Cannon bring vith them, veight. And veight slows.”

I know, but…in my line of work…I need guns. Eighteen of them. She already has some, but not enough, obviously or she wouldn’t have been taken. If you see some improvements you can make to make her more maneuverable or faster, do it."

He nods. “This can be much gold.”

“I have it and you’ll be paid well. I’d also like to offer you a job on the ship later if you’re interested. If you want to go to sea. I also need a good woodcarver. I need a new figurehead.”

Haethulf’s eyebrow twitches up, his eyes betray the excitement he tries to hide. “You need crew then?”

She looks down to hide the smile, but she hasn’t missed the look of excitement. She has him. She couldn’t have offered a better bribe than going back to sea, if Silk had sashayed in here naked. Well, maybe. Silk was powerful bait. “Yes. Is anyone in your clan interested?”

“I… could ask some of ze men.”

“Please do. I can use hearty stock like them. My first mate may be a woman, will that be a problem?”

He shakes his head. “The Æþelingas are strong. Good brimliðendas.”

“I know they are. I would like to have as many as I can get.”

His head cocks to the side a bit, studying her; then he turns to look at her through one eye and asks, “Does my bróþor know of your plan?”

She chuckles softly and remembers the eyepatch he gave her when she tried to break the news to him at the fancy dinner he took her to. It was so beautifully wrapped she couldn’t imagine what it might be. There in a velvet box lay an eye patch “I may seem oblivious, but, yes, I know what you’re doing, and it doesn’t change how I feel about you” he had said. “I believe he does. He may not completely approve of it, but he approves of me I think.”

“He very approves of you, dis I do know.”

“I’m very fond of him.”

“Perhaps best if you do not speak of my involvement if I join your crew.”

“Oh, trust me. I have no intention of telling him I’m corrupting his little brother.”

The waitress knocks and opens the door for Sigren who strolled in with typical Sigren fashion as if she owned the world and narrows her eyes curiously at Gen.

“Hello, Sigren.”

Haethulf looked up at her, appraising her. Before he can say anything, Sigren lifts her chin in greeting to her, and then nods toward Haethulf without actually looking at him. “Who’s the new monkey?”

Gen cringes. Well, that’s Sigren all over. Hasn’t changed a bit. “Master Haethulf, this will be my first mate, Sigren if she will accept.”

Haethulf looks a bit surprised. “A …holtwudu mægð?”

“He’s going to repair and refit my ship,” Gen says, trying to head the two off.

“Can she even swim?” he asks.

“Better than you can speak common, apparently,” she replies and pulls up a chair.

He grimaces.

Gen sighs. “Be nice, Sig, I need him.”

Sigren grins crookedly. “I never did nice very well, you know that.”

“I know, but try.”

“He’s a master craftsman and his people are raiders from way back. I need this type.”

Haethulf’s hackles are up a bit. “The Æþelingas, my clan were at sea when we were somehow … brought to this world. It was scinngelac… a magick … door,” he says by way of explanation.

Sigren stops pouring mead. “OH! You must be related to Cap’n Wolf.”

Haethulf nods. Wolfgaar is my older bróþor. You know him? I have not zeen him in many winters. Ten, maybe?"

Sigren glances from Gen to Haethulf. "Mkay, all sorts of things are starting to make sense now. I assume so, since you’re one of exactly two people I’ve ever met that talk like that. One day, you’ll have to bring me back to see your cave. Er, “clan”.

Haethulf gives Sigren a nasty look

Light, am I going to get these two out of there without them killing each other?

Sigren returns a teasing wink.

“Æþelingas have great herenið árweorðung! Our enemies fear us and for guð reason.”

“I’m sure they do,” Sigren replies with a smirk and fixes herself a sandwich.

“To get back to why I asked you here,” Gen said. “I’m going to turn the sea blood red. I need someone by my side on the sea and land I can trust.”

Sigren takes a bite of the sandwich. “Gen… trust me all you want, but you know what they say about money, and bull%^&*.”

“The money is there, but I need people who are loyal to me. If you have a better offer, take it.”

“Fantastic,” Sigren says, “now what were you saying about bleeding people?”

“I intend to find out who was behind the killing of my cousin. I’ll hunt them down and they will die mercilessly. Other than that, we have to start up some businesses.”

“What sort of business are you thinking?” Sigren asks.

“And money?” Haelthulf adds. “Ve vill need money.”

“I have money, but it won’t last forever, of course. Information always pays, you know. Time to start gathering it. Blackmail pays. Secrets pay.”

Sigren taps the table thoughtfully and tears up some cheese. “Hm. It’s been awhile since I knew anything important. Might be fun to get back in the game.” She smirks as she leans back in her chair, folding her arms across her chest. The wheels are already turning.

“People will pay for information or for information to stay silent,” Gen says.

“What …cargo? Cargo…do you plan to bring. Take. Sell.” the man asks.

Sigren leans forward now and places and elbow on the table, chin propped on her palm. “Yes, what’s the game, Gen? We gonna run some legitimate business parallel so we pass harbor muster, or underground all the way?”

“What things will you be … carrying on this scip?”

“I have some suppliers. We’ll have to set up a legitimate shop and bring in regular trade goods with real manifests as well as slipping in stolen cargo. Whatever the sea coughs up.”

“Ac he wæccendewraþum on andan.”

Gen doesn’t bother to ask what that means. He’s busy figuring something out. “We’ll have to have some way to account for our stolen cargo of course.”

“Sounds like we need a gnome,” Sigren says.

“We do,” Gen agrees. “Just not Abon.”

Haethulf looks confused. "What is this …“no”?

Sigren looks to the man, holding her palm flat about three feet off the floor. “Wee people, good with numbers and such. Cute faces and people believe them, mostly.”

Haethulf tries to take in Sigren’s words but is utterly confused.

“I’ll introduce you to one,” Gen says. “Orwyn is going to be a pain in the $%^ if we bring cargo into Stormwind without all the paperwork right.”

“I’m known in several harbors. Not wanted or anything, but there are a handful of harbor masters who’d sooner toss me off the pier than believe a word out of my mouth.”

“If “oarwin” is the city weardian, then I will agree,” Haethulf says.

“Do we think any of his people have weakness?” Sigren asks.

“I don’t know,” Gen replies. “We might be able to unload in some other harbors. Might feel his people out. Can any of them be bought? Or otherwise bribed? I’ll leave that to you.”

Sigren shrugs. “Dunno, I’ll have to poke around. Leaning on people is cheaper than buying them. I have some ideas.”

Haethulf pours more mead. He’s been making some drawings on a piece of paper. “I want to begin verk on the scip right away.”

“You’ll need a crew of workmen. Make a list of materials you need once you see her. I know you’ll need wood and iron, but make a specific list. Sails are shot. I need a tailor also to make flags. And your cannons. Eighteen. I want flags for each kingdom so we can change if we need to, plus our own flag. I want people to know the maiden is bearing down on them when we come. Let them know they’re about to dance with the maiden.”

“What will your flag show?” he asked.

She pulled out the drawing. “A maiden dancing with death on a black flag.”

Sigren leans in to peer at the sketch. “That’s rad. I love it. I need it on a shirt, I think. Cannons? Speed? Just how much trouble are we planning to start?”

“I plan on setting the seas on fire and I’m going to burn down anyone who gets in my way.”

“Do you have a place to hide this scip when necessary? The Hinterlands are a good place to hide, but they are far… And very far from places you may vish to go.”

“We’ll have to find a safe port for her. And a name. Maiden’s Revenge I’m thinking. Not sure.”

“Se Mægð’s Yrre.”

Sigren took another sip of mead. "Is it bad that I’m starting to understand you?

“You may be …learn.”

Sigren grins. “I’m a quick study.” She props taps her fingers on the table some more. “We might be able to get Six to help out with the documents, though she’s known to Orwyn for her previous association with Imperon. She’s very good.”

“Can she do the job?” Gen asked.

“Let’s try it out. Orwyn’s been trying to toss her in prison forever, though.”

“Well, let’s not give him a reason to do so. But maybe that will keep his attention somewhere else. He needs some exercise. I think he’s starting to get a bit of a paunch. We’re not going to get everything through. That’s the way it goes. But let’s see what we can stir up.”

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((Haha Nope. No hallucinations. Welcome to chaos.))

“If I get that formula, we can start making those drugs for slavers. There’s always a market for liquor. That goblin had another drug he used that was just enhanced performance they used on slaves. Work harder. Play harder. You know there’s a market for it. Weapons. Already have buyers for artifacts and magic items.”

Sigren nodded. “Okay, so… initial orders of business for me: keep an eye out for competent crew for a legitimate operation, and spread some whispers toward the boys in blue. See who can be influenced?”

“Yes, and let’s start setting up an information gathering system as soon as possible. Artemis will handle logistics and set up the legitimate business details. She can contact Orwyn and city officials to make everything all proper. I wish Ardam was still around. I could use him. Once we have the drug formula, we need to set up a network to start selling the drug.”

The waitress knocked and brought in another pitcher of mead. They all got quiet while she was in the room. Gen handed her a few more gold. “Didn’t you say you had weapons coming in?” Sigren asked.

“Yes. They’d be tricky to get past Orwyn’s eagle eyes. We may have to deliver them in Westfall, but we’re not going to be able to avoid him for everything. It’s just a fact of life. Part of doing business.”

Sigren poured more mead. “I think we should also definitely move some niche ale. I know where we can get some.”

“I want it. That will sell well.”

Haethulf looked up from cutting off more meat. “Slavery?”

“We’re not doing slaves only selling the drugs to slavers.”

“Barrels can hide all kinds of things,” Sigren said.

“Including bodies,” Gen replied, “and we’ll have some of those to dispose of before too long.”

Sigren twists the glass of mead around a bit and then finishes it off. “I’m happy to be part of the crew… though I’ll say Imperon had to take off this ear tip to convince me to be his Second… I must be getting soft.”

The man looks between the two women, an eyebrow shooting up. Gen shrugs. “I can take off an ear if you’d like.”

“Well. You can sure try.”

Gen sizes her up. “It might be interesting. I’m not my cousin. She played fair. I play to win.”

Sigren chuckles. “Welcome to my game.”

Standing, she rolls her neck, listening to the bones crack and then curtsies sarcastically. "Clanman. Weird to meet you.

Gen laughs. “Interesting days ahead.”

Sigren tips an imaginary hat. “Oh, definitely. Lookin forward to 'em.”

“I think so. See if you can set your sights on those people we discussed.”

"Well, I have plans to scheme and schemes to plan, if we’re all sorted out here.

"I should get down to the scip, "Haethulf says.

“Yes, I want to show you the maiden.”

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Finneah slowly awoke to the late afternoon sun and shadows dancing across her face through the open window next to the bed. A soft breeze played amongst the fronds of a palm tree that towered above the small hut sheltering her and a tall blood elf stranger on the western shores of Booty Bay. She had overslept, but after all, they had both been cavorting the entire night before. Grinning at the memory, she deftly stepped out of the bed, careful not to wake the elf. She quickly dressed, and after pressing one last soft kiss on his forehead, tucked his wallet snugly into her jacket pocket. The rogue also snatched his pants from where they had been tossed into a corner the night before to ensure that he would not be able to immediately follow her, and chuckling quietly, slipped out the door.

The Salty Sailor Tavern was a loud and rather obnoxious place at times. Still, the cherry grog there was to die for. Finneah stopped in in the doorway, making sure to keep herself concealed as she surveyed the patrons. There was always such an assortment of things to be seen and heard here as people became more and more intoxicated.

Still unseen, she made her way to a corner where a group of three men were huddled around one of the smaller tables, obviously already having had a bit too much ale. Oblivious to the nearly imperceptible shadow that settled near their table, they continued in their conversation. At first it seemed meaningless and full of bawdy humor, but Finneah’s attention was quickly caught by one of the men in particular. He was a mousey sort of man and red-faced from too much drinking. Between his vulgarity and belches, she discovered that he had been a wagon driver who in his own words had delivered a load of plague-tainted grain to Hearthglen. He bragged rather loudly that he had escaped detection by Stormwind’s authorities all this time. Finneah of course knew of the Hearthglen deaths, and smiled to herself…this would certainly be of interest to someone. It was only a matter of who was willing to pay for the information.

The rogue stood and approached the nearest barmaid who distractedly gave Finneah the patron’s name, then meandered casually out of the tavern - she would hurry back to Stormwind and be there before dawn. One of her many contacts in the city would surely know of someone who would appreciate this little tidbit.

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Gen had spent much of the day with Haethulf going over the Maiden. She was as, Gen suspected in bad shape. Worse in some respects. One of the masts, though standing was rotted and needed to be replaced. They had stopped to survey a pirate ship on the way to the Maiden and Haethulf had gotten a bit excited about her thinking that was the ship he was to fit. She was smaller and maybe more suited in some ways. It might be easier it take her rather than rebuild the Maiden.

There were other plans for her though. Gen planned on taking her, liberating her cannon and anything else she could use and scuttling her. As soon as she got a few more crew members, some snakes, and clay jars. It was amazing how tossing dozens of jars of snakes on a deck while boarding a ship threw everything into chaos. They didn’t have to be poisonous. No one stopped to look. They just started trying to kill the snakes or jumping ship.

The live oak to reinforce the hull and make repairs would be arriving today. Haethulf assured her he could make fine furniture. She handed him a sketch of a canopied bed similar to an o**** bed and told him she wanted it made out of mahogany with secret compartments even the most discerning eye would not detent. His cousin was a skilled woodcarver if he could sober him up. He would make the Maiden’s figurehead, a beautiful golden-haired maiden in a gown that looked like she was rising out of the sea. Gen had made hand motions indicating she wanted her voluptuous. “I want men to notice her when the Maiden comes into port.”

“They vill notice her or fear her,” the man assured her.

“That’s precisely what I want.”

Silk was sprawled across two chests, taking in the sun when she walked out onto the patio the next morning. “Where’s Jack?”

“Sleeping, last time I saw him.”

“Is Abon around?”

“I’m sure she is.”

There was a thumping inside one of the chests. “Get up, Silk.”

Gen opened the chests and a very red-faced and irritated gnome clambered out of the second chest. “I ought to turn you into a glacier right now you she-devil,” Abon screeched.

Abon who took great pride in her appearance looked like she’d been dragged backwards through several bramble patches. Her jeweled robes, shoulders and hat were a shamble. Her hair stuck out like new spring grass badly in need of mowing. Muttering under her breath and with trembling fingers, she began to cast a spell. Gen grabbed her and turned her upside down.

“Please don’t. I need her. Why can’t you two get along?”

“She insulted me,” Silk said.

"She deserved it, "Abon cried. “You’re nothing but a witch. Put me down. I’m going to Dalaran to get drunk and repair my chapeau.”

“You don’t even drink.”

“I do now.”

Gen dropped the irate gnome who stormed off, vowing never to return.

“Please stop antagonizing her. Why don’t you and Jack go to Stormwind and see if you can nose around for information? Try to make yourself useful.”

Hours later, the pair was still in the Pig and Whistle where any information that was worth having passed sooner or later. Jack was in the middle of a card game with Silk at his side.

“Blow, Darling,” he said.

She leaned over, pursed her lips, and blew on his cards for good luck.

“That’s distracting as #$%^,” one of the other players said.

“Why?” Jack asked?

“You know why. That outfit.” He was still staring at her décolleté.

She looked dismayed. “I’m blind. I can’t help it if my colors clash. Jack did you let me out of the house looking unfashionable again?”

"No, Darling. You look fine. You’re in black and red. Your favorite colors. Why don’t you go get us another round of drinks?’

“All right.”

She was wearing a black swashbuckler shirt, a barely decent black bottom and red bard boots that buckled up to her thigh. Her hips swayed like a church bell on meeting day as she walked over to the bar and all eyes stayed on her, except Jack’s who was studying his hand and seemed oblivious to her.

“Where does she even keep any money?” one man asked.

“Hmm?” Jack said looking around. “Oh, I don’t know. That’s a good question. I should ask sometime. I don’t really ask her much. Poor little thing. Blind. Can’t cook. I’d get rid of her, but who else would take care of her?”

“Yeah, reg’lar saint you are.”

“I know. Call or fold?”

Silk strolled back and delivered the drinks, having noted where each man sat and what he drank earlier. Jack kissed her. “Thanks, Sweets.”

"Isn’t there some kind of saying about lucky in love, unlucky in cards?’ one man groused as Jack raked in the pot.

“I think I’ve heard that. I do hope to get lucky in love one day. Until then, I have Astril here to comfort me.”

Silk nodded sadly.

A small blonde woman slipped in and whispered something to David Langston who looked around and pointed to Silk. Being blind sharped the other senses and Silk perked up immediately at the mention of information.

The woman came over and tapped her on the shoulder and leaned down. “Have a moment of your time?”

“Of course.”

“We’re going to go talk about boys,” Silk said. “Be back in a bit.”

She led the woman to a nearby house that looked abandoned and unlocked it, held her hand to Finneah to keep her from entering, then made a few odd movements with her fingers before walking in. It was neat and clean inside, belying the exterior. It was comfortably appointed with expensive yet understated furniture. If the paintings on the wall were genuine, there were some nice ones and worth a pretty penny. Rare vases and statues sat on antique tables around the room. “We can talk privately here. How can I help?”

Silk could vaguely see the woman looking around, then heard the low whistle. “My name’s Finneah. David said you’re the one looking for information on the delivery of plague grain to Hearthglen.”

“Astril, please be seated.” Silk curled up like a cat in one of the large armchairs near the unlit fireplace. “I am. What do you have? I’m paying well for the right information.”

“It’s not much, but it may lead you to more. The name of one of the drivers and a description.”

“That’s worth a lot. Good job. I’m always looking for information if you’re interested. I need good people.” She was careful not to implicate anyone else in case this was a trap.

“I might be. How can I contact you?”

“Leave word with David.”

“Let me go get your payment.” She went upstairs to the safe and retrieved a small bag of gold. Handing it to the woman, she said, “This is not only for the information, but also your silence. You forget you ever heard about this man or who you told about him. Understood?”

Finneah looked inside the bag and hefted it. “Of course, Boss.”

“All right. I should get back to the game. Also, should you decide to visit the house unescorted, please don’t. You should be aware it’s warded. I don’t like cleaning up exploded bodies. They make such a mess.”

“I would never.”

“I’m sure you wouldn’t.”

Finneah went her separate way after Silk locked the house. She was probably still pondering a way to break into the house, but it was securely warded and guarded. Silk had no worries even if the woman was foolish enough to try. Back at the Pig and Whistle, she strolled casually up to David and whispered to him. "Do you trust Finneah?

The man threw back his head and guffawed. “Trust her? Not as far as I can throw her. Grin broadly and she’d steal the fillings from your teeth then come back and steal your teeth and sell them for ivory. Information, though. She’s always been solid there.”

“Is she dangerous?”

He shrugged. “For the right price, she’d probably cut someone’s throat. Looking to kill someone?”

She leaned over and kissed him. “Oh, David, you know I’m a lover, not a fighter.”

“Uh huh.”

“Stop trying to poach my woman, David,” Jack said from the table.

“Eh, you know I can’t compete with those dimples.”

Silk sat down next to Jack and laid her head on his shoulder. “I’m hungry. Aren’t you ever going to feed me?”

“What are you hungry for?”

“Meat. Steak.”

“Let me finish this hand and I’ll feed you.” He looked around the table chagrined. “Women. What can you do?”

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Jack dutifully fed Silk at her favorite eating place and they returned to headquarters, which Gen carefully kept separate from the Arete guildhall. She was just finishing a meeting with Artemis who was going to be the face of the legitimate operations and logistics.

“You’ll have to meet with Orwyn and get a list of what is legal to import and find out what permits and documentation we need. I’m sure the city will require licenses and so forth. Ask him or one of his minions about them. The city clerk will help you with that. Keep everything scrupulously clean.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Find an appropriate building to lease.”

“Right away.”

Artemis was the perfect person for the job with attention to detail and pure business.

Silk waited until she was gone before she said anything. “I have the information you wanted. At least part of it. One of the drivers who delivered the grain to Hearthglen is in Stormwind. He’s been bragging about being the driver.”

Gen’s eyes went cold. “All right. You know what to do. Arrange a meeting. Make sure he’s the one and then set up a meeting with both of us for late tomorrow and we’ll take him out in the wee hours of the night or early Saturday. I’ll have to work out the details.”

“How far do you want me to go?”

“Whatever you’re comfortable with. Pour some liquor in him. Just get him to talking. That should be all it takes with a low life like him. Make sure he’s not just bragging about something he knows nothing about.”

“Sure boss.”

Gen spent much of the afternoon scouting out the harbor in workman’s clothes, wandering around, making note of guard’s positions and vantage points. In the end, she had four locations she favored for her future shark bait. First, she was going to consult with someone else.

“Sigren, I need to run something past you.”

“All right.” She took the cigar out of her mouth and looked over.

“If you were going to kill someone at the harbor, how would you do it?” Gen sat down next to her on the patio and propped her feet up.

“How are you going to kill him?”

“I’m going to slice him up a bit and then dump him in the water for the sharks. I’ll gag him, of course, so no one will hear him screaming. Not deep cuts. More like love cuts.”

She drew on the cigar. “Oh, so he’s alive when you make chum out of him?”

“Yes. I’m sending a message.”

“Well, I wouldn’t kill him at the harbor. I’d skin him and cut him up into chunks, then drop body parts all over Stormwind. Let the stray dogs take care of him.” It was a true Sigren solution.

“Yes, but then no one could I identify him. I’m hoping enough will be left to identify him.”

“True. Well, then here’s what you do.”

Silk returned after several hours and plopped down in Gen’s office. Gen looked up from some sketches Haethulf had sent her about possible modifications to The Maiden. She’d travel to the cove later and talk to him. They needed to try and take that other ship this weekend if the rest of the pirate fleet was out and her information said they would be. This ship was undergoing repairs and wouldn’t sail. It would be left behind with a skeleton crew and repairmen.

“Silk. Find him?”

She nodded and yawned. “Yes, talkative fellow when you get enough booze in him and make over him a bit. Make a few promises. I told him I’d come back and give him a good time and bring a friend tonight. We’d make a full night of it. He deserved it; hero like him.”

Gen laughed. “And then he really started spilling his guts.”

“Uh huh. Well, Pia has already taken care of most of them involved in the plot quietly. They have or had a division called the Silent Guard and tracked them down. People just disappeared without a trace. No muss. No fuss. Only ones left are the two drivers that maybe Pia thought they weren’t messing with and two others.”

Gen poured some tea from a pot on her desk and offered Silk a cup. Silk wrinkled her nose, so Gen replaced the cozy over the pot. “Something stronger?”

“No, I’m good. Going to my room in a bit. I’ve had plenty for a while. They should have taken out the drivers too. They knew what they were doing and were well paid for it. The guy laughed about it. Thought it was a big joke the way Gentyl died. ‘The big paladin died crying, begging her friend to kill her, I heard. Can you imagine?’ Tears rolled down his face he was laughing so hard.”

Gen’s jaw clenched. “Yes, I heard the same thing. Anyway. Two drivers. Who else?”

“A fat merchant living behind gates in Dalaran financed part of it. An enforcer from the camps who moves around a lot. He’s in Booty Bay a bunch now, but Redridge at times, Stormwind. Be easier to catch him in the Bay, I think.”

“Merchant won’t be a problem. The enforcer will have guards. We’ll just have to catch him where we can. Are you sure that’s all that’s left?”

“Fairly sure, but we’ll wring some more information out of him and the other driver. He’s in Westfall. Maybe we can lure him out of there and keep Orwyn off our backs. I spoke to someone in the Silent Guard and asked her about this plot. She wouldn’t confirm much other than things had mostly been taken care of.”

“Really? I didn’t realize any were left. Gentyl never spoke of them. Or said anything about taking care of these people to me.”

“Kind of defeats the purpose of a Silent Guard if you yap about them. The driver knew because they’d been warned about them. I suppose he thinks he’s safe now. One of my contacts put me in touch with a woman named Raven, who was Silent Guard.” She yawned again and stretched. “I’m going to bed. I’m sure we have a busy night ahead of us.”

“Yes, we do. I wish the Blackskull Mercenaries were still around. I could use them.”

(Warning violence and innuendoes)

Donnovan Wills was the man’s name. He wasn’t old, but drink made him look older than his actual age of thirty-five Gen was told. His hair was long and mousy brown. She had watched him earlier, sizing him up. He was loud and obnoxious, making rude remarks to the barmaid at every opportunity, but she got the impression he was like a pug chasing a wagon. What would he do with it if he actually caught it?

She stopped at The Recluse and had a cup of tea. There she visited pleasantly with Orwyn and a few other patrons about children and other mundane things and then went back to her quarters and prepared. They would meet Donnovan at his apartment and then go down to the harbor for a nighttime picnic and some beach fun. Or so the man thought. Silk was gathering the food. Some fruit, cheese, chocolate cookies, wine. Stuff they had in the pantry and nothing special that would be noticeable.

She was wearing a peasant blouse pulled as low as possible and still barely decent and corset pushing her assets into full view. Her skirt was white and layers of gauzy material that did little to hide her form. A silver belt of coins dropped low on her hips. Simple sandals on her feet. A worn and simple hooded cloak she’d purchased off the auction house months ago. It was a good, non-descript cover when she wanted to slip around on the streets unnoticed.

The most important part of the costume, however, was the brown wig. It was long, human hair and wavy. She pulled her own hair up into a ponytail and then plastered it down with seaweed gel to keep it all together and then put a net over all. Then she put the wig on. Red hair was rare and recognizable. Brown hair was common.

She put a drab house maid’s dress on over everything else and checked the address again. He’d be waiting for them and he lived in Old Town. She arrived a few minutes early with a wine bottle in hand and knocked on the door.

“You’re not Sabra,” he said, obviously disappointed.

She smiled winsomely and pushed her hood back. “She’ll be along shortly. Are you going to turn me down?”

“N-no, of course, not. You’re her friend?”

“I am. Invite me in, big boy.”

He grinned. “I see you’ve heard about me.”

“Oh, yes. I’ve heard all about you. I brought wine. Mind if I get comfortable?”

He pulled out some glasses and wiped them on his shirt. “No, uh, please do.”

She took off her cloak and then unbuttoned the maid’s dress and stepped out of it. “Orwyn’s people can be such pests if a lady is dressed not to their liking, you know.”

His eyes lit up. “Oh, that’s much better. Let me get a look at yer.”

She twirled slowly.

“Uh, huh. Let’s have some of that wine. Come sit on my lap while we wait on Sabra. What’s yer name, Sweets?”

“Heather.” She drank some of the wine then kissed his neck. “When Sabra told me you were the one who took down those uppity Pia folk at Hearthglen, I told her I had to meet you. It just got me all, uh, excited.” She squirmed in his lap.

“Really?” He fed her some more wine. “Didn’t do it by myself, ya know. Me an John Boyd drove the wagon, but had to do it just right or they’d get suspicious, don’t yer know?”

“I’m sure. It had to take a really brave man to do that.”

“Well, yeah. Not many would mess with those folks.” His chest puffed out a bit and he fed her more wine then refilled the glass. “That fat banker Ronnell wasn’t going to do nothin but put up money. He had a grudge against them because they busted him on some fraud stuff. He’s still hidin out, tremblin in his boots, pi$$in down both legs ever time he hears a noise.”

She shuddered and accepted the wine when he offered it to her then ran her hand across his chest. “I get very, how shall we say, excited, by brave men.”

He smiled and traced a thumb across her lips. “I can see. It’s going to be an interesting night.”

“Oh, you have no idea. Not in your wildest dreams.” She smiled wickedly.

Their conversation was interrupted by a knock on the door. “I’ll bet that’s Sabra,” she said and winked.

He set her off his lap and slapped her on the bottom. It was. She was wearing a pale blue diaphanous gown, leaving little to the imagination. Donnavan groaned when he saw her. “Gods an garters it’s gonna be a night.”

Silk patted his face. “That it is, Darling. That it is. Shall we go? Get a blanket off your bed so we don’t get all sandy.”

He jerked a quilt off his bed nearly pulling the mattress with it, he was so excited.

Gen smiled. “Let’s fly down there, so we don’t have to explain what we’re doing to all those nosey guards. I found a private little place we can play.”

"Sounds good to me. “I’ll follow you.”

The place Gen had picked out was a quiet little sandy strip near a small waterfall. It was so low, high tide would wash away any traces they had been there, was private, and yet near enough the harbor his body would be found if anything was left of it when the shark got through with it. Of course, there were always shark hunters in the water, so they might finish the shark before it did much damage, but that was life or death.

He looked around when they landed. “I like it. We could do anything we wanted here, and no one would ever see us.”

Gen nodded and smiled as she dismounted. “I know and the things I plan on doing to you.”

“Really? Well, come here and show me, girl.” He grabbed her around the waist and pulled her to him, kissing her roughly.

She ran her hands up his back. “Let’s get comfortable. We have all night.”

Silk spread the quilt out and laid out the food, then patted the quilt beside her. Donnovan laid down beside her and she began feeding him grapes and kissing him.

“Why don’t you get undressed?” Gentyl urged.

He peeled his clothes off and waited expectantly. She took out a small dagger and started peeling an apple then straddled him and fed it to him, smiling widely. “I have an idea.”

“Oh, yeah?”

“It’ll be fun.”

“I like fun.”

“I do too,” she said. She got up and cut a strip off the end of the quilt. “Put your hands behind your back. We’re going to do wicked things to your body.”

“Oh really?” He laughed.

“Oh, yes. Very wicked.” She bound his hand tightly." Lie back, Darling. Tell me about those snobby paladins in Hearthglen again. You know how it excites me."

He went into great detail about the operation. Laughed about how Gentyl had made cookies and poisoned herself. He was laughing so hard his stomach convulsed. Gen squirmed on him, encouraging him, until he told all he had to give.

“That’s the way the cookie crumbles,” he laughed when he finished with the part about Gentyl begging to die. He looked into Gen’s face. “You look kind of like her. She was pretty, you know. Shame to waste that, really.”

Gen laughed hollowly and looked at Silk. “Hear that, Sabra? I look like a paladin.” She reached over into the bag and pulled out some cookies. “We brought cookies. Open up.”

Donnovan opened his mouth.

“No, wider.”

Silk stuck a knife to his neck and his eyes went wide as his mouth. Gen crammed chocolate cookies in his mouth, then Silk hurriedly threw a gag over it and tied it tightly.

The man mumbled and tried to speak, but couldn’t of course.

“Hush, little Donnie, Don’t say a word,” Gen sang.

“Mama’s gonna buy you a mockingbird.”

She pushed him back down and got undressed to her small clothes. “See, I told you this was going to be fun.” She straddled him again.

"If that Mockingbird don’t sing,

“Mama’s going to buy you a golden ring.”

She tapped the gold ring on his right hand with the initials DW. “Of course, you already bought you a beautiful ring with all that money you made from hauling that plague grain, didn’t you?”

Leaning forward, she kissed him on the forehead. “Are we having fun yet?” Starting to sing again, “If that golden ring don’t shine, Mama’s gonna buy you some red, red wine.”

Silk handed her the bottle of wine and Gen drank generously before passing it back. "I’d share, but you seem to have your mouth full.

"Hush, now Donnie, don’t you cry,

"I’ll be done here by and by.

“Exciting, isn’t it?” She giggled and made the first cut in his arm. There was a very muffled scream and he thrashed under her.

“Sugar and slice and everything nice….”

Silk took a swig of the wine. “Don’t think that’s the way it goes.”

“Really? Let me try again to remember.” She made another slash below the first one. “Sugar and slice and everything. No, that’s not it.”

She continued slicing until there were six slashes on each arm.

“You know what? On second thought. I think I’m just not very nice after all. Let’s go fishing. Do you like to fish, Donnie?”

He shook his head.

“Oh, that’s a shame.”

Silk uncoiled the rope they brought along in the bag. Gen reached up and tickled Donnovan under the armpit. “Tickle, tickle, tickle. Raise your arm a little, Darling.”

He shook his head.

“Oh, you’re such a spoil sport. I told you this would be fun and it is, but I guess not so much for you.” She reached down and grabbed him by the head and lifted him up. Silk threaded the rope under his arms and around his chest, then knotted it behind his back. They dragged him over to the nearby boat and threw him in. Rowing out a little way, they threw him over and waited. Since his feet weren’t tied, he rose to the top, wild-eyed and bobbing like an animated buoy. It wasn’t long before the scent of blood attracted a shark and he went down.

“Oh, I think we have a nibble,” Gen said. She peered over the boat and saw a dark pool stain the water. “Yes, definitely got a nibble. Night, Donnie.”

They gathered everything up but the quilt and flew back to his apartment. Left his gryphon where he normally kept it and went into the apartment to make sure he hadn’t left any other notes about them or the other people they needed. There was a silver Pia flask Gen recognize and she picked it up. It didn’t need to be left here. She had no idea why he had it anyway. It was filled with fair to middling brandy. She burned the maid’s dress in his fireplace. She wiped down the glasses they had drank from.

They were starting out a passageway and toward a canal bridge when a guard talking to his captain called out to them. Gen poured the brandy on them and told Silk to drink some. She finished it.

“What are you ladies doing out so late?” The men walked up to them.

Silk and Gen held each other weaving and waiting. “Entertain’, general,” Gen answered. “Wash ent- enter uh tainment for a party. An we, uh jesh finished.”

Silk leaned against the captain and stroked his face. “So, pretty. I could take you home.”

“He’s happily married, Miss,” the soldier said. “You two should be getting home before Orwyn’s people pick you up for solicitation.”

Gen shook her head. “Not sol-lichitin. Givin it away. Come see us, shweetie.”

The captain pushed Silk away gently and she staggered backward into the canal.

“Light!” The man jumped forward to grab her. She floundered while the two men tried to fish her out and at last succeeded. When they did, the filmy gown stuck to her body and happily married’s eyes went wide. “Uh, yes. Well, I should be going. You two should get off the street.”

“Aye, aye, general.” Gen gave a sloppy salute.

“Do you live very far?” the guard asked.

“No, almost home,” Gen said. “Come shee ush.”

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((Any errors in the description of events in the following report are OOC and likely due to the fact that I finished this at midnight my time. >_<

Incident Report #51600211A

Report taken by: Lt. Maris Sedgegrave

Date: 5/16/**

Time: 6pm

Location: Stormwind Harbor

Specifically, to the south of the main harbor at the foot of the Lion’s Rest cliff. The corpse was found floating offshore several feet from the north edge of the sandbank and several feet west of the cliff face.

Persons involved:

Complainant/witness: Ms. Destiny DeShawn Conagher

Victim: Unidentified human male

Watch Officers:

Lieutenant Sedgegrave

Corporal Castlehurst

Investigator Murphy

Junior Medical Officer Alayothan

Junior Patrol Officer Andreya

Person of note: Ms. Sigren

Describe the incident:

At approximately 5:30pm, Ms. Destiny DeShawn Conagher proceeded to Stormwind Harbor, intent on fishing from her favorite location at the sandbank at the foot of the Lion’s Rest cliff. She entered a boat beached on the north bank of the northern channel of the Lion’s Rest promontory. This is the same boat that she usually uses to cross the channel to the sandbank, and it appears to be, from her statement, how people in general reach the sandbank. She did not notice anything amiss in the boat, but as she approached the northern shore of the sandbank, she observed a human male floating naked facedown in the water close to the shore. At first she thought he was swimming and called out to him. Receiving no reply, she left the boat and approached the corpse. She poked the victim and determined that he was deceased. At that time she rowed back to the north bank of the northern channel and made her way to the Watch office to report the crime.

She made contact with myself at 6pm. After determining her name and place of residence, she conducted myself and a party of officers (previously listed and subsequently referred to as the officers on scene) to the harbor. Upon reaching the boat to use it for the purposes of crossing the channel, we observed blood and rope fibers on the boat. Junior Medical Officer Alayothan collected the fibers and a sample of the blood.

Drawing closer to the northern shore of the sandbank, the Watch officers on scene observed a human male floating naked in the water, in approximately the same location previously identified by the witness, Ms. Conagher. The boat was beached on the sandbank. Investigator Murphy and Junior Medical Officer Alayothan approached the victim in the water and confirmed he was deceased based upon lack of breathing, skin discoloration consistent with a complete and long-term lack of oxygen, and severe, obviously fatal injuries (subsequently described). They moved the victim to the sandbank and commenced a more thorough investigation.

Description of the victim: A middle-aged human male, slightly overweight. Brown hair, cut short in front, shoulder-length in back. Brown eyes. No unusual physical features. A tattoo of the name “Donovan” was inscribed across his chest.

Apparel on the victim: No clothing. He was gagged with a piece of cloth. His wrists were tied by a cut piece of quit fabric, which matched the fabric and cut from a large quilt that had been left approximately 30 ft. from the north shore of the sandbar where the body had been discovered. One gold ring on the ring finger of his right hand with the letters “DW” inscribed on the interior of the band.

Condition of the body:

Both legs had been removed mid-thigh and were not found in the area. The tissue appeared to be damaged in a pattern consistent with the teeth of a shark. Six cuts were made by a sharp instrument on each forearm. The cuts were perpendicular to the bone, approximately one inch apart each. Each cut was approximately one-half inch deep, sufficient to open up the veins traveling along the length of the arm. None of the cuts were immediately fatal, but if left untreated would eventually result in death due to exsanguination. The wrists exhibited bruising consistent with being bound. When the gag was removed, it was discovered that the victim’s mouth had been crammed entirely full of chocolate chip cookies. The body was badly waterlogged but was little damaged by birds, perhaps indicating that it had been stuck underwater for some time before resurfacing. There were no apparent defensive wounds or other cuts or bruises indicating a physical altercation.

Based upon the condition of the body, Investigator Murphy and Junior Medical Officer Alayothan estimated the time of death to have been twelve and eighteen hours before its discovery at 5:30pm.

While Investigator Murphy and Junior Medical Officer Alayothan examined the corpse, I continued to interview the witness, Ms. Conagher.

Junior Patrol Officer Andreya located and examined a large quilt that had been left approximately 30 ft. from the north shore of the sandbar where the body had been discovered. It was determined from visual analysis and physical matching that quilt fabric used to bind the victim’s hands was cut from the quilt found on the sandbank.

No other physical evidence was found at the scene. It was evident that the tide had come in between the time of the murder and the discovery of the body. The sandbank sand was damp and smooth, with no footprints and limited animal tracks. In addition, the quilt was waterlogged with salt water.

As I was concluding the questioning of Ms. Conagher, known convicted criminal Ms. Sigren arrived on scene. It was apparent from Ms. Conagher’s greeting of Ms. Sigren and their subsequent conversation that they are acquaintances. With the questioning concluded, neither was permitted to approach the crime scene.

At the end of the investigation of the scene, the body was prepared for transport by Investigator Murphy and Junior Medical Officer Alayothan. All physical evidence was collected and preserved for analaysis in the technical lab according to standard protocol by the officers on scene. The body and all evidence were delivered to the Watch office by the officers on scene.

Physical Evidence Collected:

One strip of cloth used to gag the victim.

One strip of quilt used to bind the victim’s hands.

One quilt matching the fabric and cut of the quilt used to bind the victim’s hands.

One sample of the cookies inside the victim’s moth.

One ring (gold) found on the ring finger of the victim’s right hand. The ring had the letters “DW” etched on the band’s interior.

A blood sample of the blood found on the floor and portside rail of the boat.

Rope fibers found on the floor of the boat.

One rowboat. Old and in generally poor condition.

Crime Scene Investigator Addendum: To be added.

Witness Statements: From Ms. Destiny DeShawn Conagher, a female gnome and part-time resident of Stormwind.

At approximately 5:30pm, the witness proceeded to Stormwind Harbor, intent on fishing from her favorite location at the sandbank at the foot of the Lion’s Rest cliff. She entered a boat beached on the south bank of the northern channel of the Lion’s Rest promontory. This is the same boat that she usually uses to cross the channel to the sandbank, and it appears to be, from her statement, how people in general reach the sandbank. She did not notice anything amiss in the boat, but as she approached the northern shore of the sandbank, she observed a human male floating naked facedown in the water close to the shore. At first she thought he was swimming and called out to him. Receiving no reply, she left the boat and approached the corpse. She poked the victim and determined that he was deceased. At that time she rowed back to the south bank of the northern edge of the northern channel and made her way to the Watch office to report the crime.

She made contact with myself at 6pm and led myself and the listed officers to the crime scene. At the scene, she proceeded to answer additional questions posed by myself. She stated that she frequently visits the location to fish while in Stormwind. When asked if it was a pretty quiet spot, she replied, “aye.”

At the end of the questioning, Ms. Sigren, a female night elf (see criminal record and person of interest history) arrived and was greeted by Ms. Conagher by name (“Sig”). They engaged in familiar conversation about the situation. I thanked Ms. Conagher for her cooperation and told her that she could go, which she did. Ms. Sigren, not being a witness to the murder, was not questioned and she departed soon after Ms. Conagher.

Further investigation required? Y

Recommendations?

An autopsy will be completed on the body to determine cause of and time of death.

The technical lab will analyze the cookies found in the corpse’s mouth, the goal being to determine their unique chemistry and test it against local bakeries’ cookies.

The quilt will also be examined for any additional evidence.

Inquiries will be made to determine the corpse’s identity.

Guards and people frequenting the area near the harbor and Lion’s Rest will be questioned.

It is my opinion, based upon the evidence found at the scene, that the victim willingly accompanied his murderer to the sandbank. Once there he either agreed to be bound at the wrists or was perhaps drugged (a question to be answered by the medical examiner). This is indicated by the lack of defensive wounds and by the fact that the quilt fabric was used as the binding. If the binding had occurred elsewhere, there would have been no reason to bring the relatively heavy quilt to where the body was dumped. The six cuts on each arm plus the filling of the victim’s mouth with cookies indicates a strong level of emotion symbolism and/or a certain use of symbolism on the part of the murderer. It seems likely that the victim knew or at least trusted the murderer, and that the murderer also knew the victim. That makes it all the more important that the victim be identified, so that his social circle can be investigated. If the victim’s death is determined to be caused by the shark bite and not choking, drowning, or blood loss, it will lead to interesting speculation as to why the murderer chose to let a shark finish off the victim. I will refrain from said speculation until the medical examiner’s report is prepared.

Submitted at 9:55pm by Lieutenant Maris Sedgegrave

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Gentyl’s ship sat anchored in a small, concealed cove on the southeast coast of Stranglethorn Vale. The gentle waves of the South Seas lapped against the tall hills that jutted nearly straight up from the waters edge. The folds of the shoreline created an illusion that hid the narrow inlet making it virtually unnoticeable by any passing ship that wasn’t actively searching for it. Behind these steep hills, a calm lagoon overhung by a canopy of tall leafy trees, lay cool and quiet with the solitary ship anchored in its center.

In this placid paradise, Haethulf the Atheling worked stripping rotted and damaged wood from The Maiden’s Revenge. Already, a large and growing pile of discarded wood had been stacked at the water’s edge. Gentyl had been good to her word and an even larger pile of boards and beams recently had been delivered and lay neatly stacked by the makeshift dock.

Haethulf looked upwards to the top of the ship’s center mast. Much to his dismay, he had discovered that this towering spire was badly rotted at its base and would need to be replaced, a task that would be the most difficult of all of those he faced in refurbishing this vessel. It would take a number of capable men and not a small amount of skill with winches and pulleys to complete this task.

Even in the shade of the encircling hills and trees the tropical heat was oppressive; as he wiped the sweat from his brow and looked up at the sun perched atop the main mast, a faint but familiar sound began to roll across the lagoon. It was the sound of men singing. As the longship entered the cove, the sound grew louder until the bow of the intricately carved vessel negotiated the gentle curve of the inlet and came into view:

Oh, poor old man your horse will die
And we say so, and we know so
Oh, poor old man your horse will die
Oh, poor old man

Say, I old man your horse will die
Say, I old man your horse will die

We’ll drop him down to the depths of the sea
We’ll drop him down to the bottom of the sea

We’ll sing him down with a long, long roll
Where the sharks’ll have his body
And the devil will have his soul!"

Haethulf ran to the bow of the ship and looked down upon the approaching boat. The men within it lifted its mighty oars from the water in unison as the song ended and they let out a tired but merry cheer.

“What the fook is that?!” he called out, pointing at the nasty mess hanging from the bow of the longboat.

“Do ye like it, kinsman?” laughed the shirtless man at the rudder. Cuthbert had long fiery red hair fashioned into two long braids that fell over his shoulders held tight by a gold circlet upon his brow. “That’s our new figurehead!”

The sun-dried corpse of a troll hung slumped from the bow of the longboat, tied and held fast with the creature’s own intestines which had been pulled from his body and wrapped round and round the prow.

“Aye! We picked him up about 90 leagues north of here,” called out Wuffa. “When we boarded his ship, he begged us not to throw him overboard, so we thought it right to bring him with us!”

“You’ve been sailing three days following that sack of filth into the wind? Wyrd’s beard!” exclaimed Haethful with a laugh of disgust, “Get rid of that thing 'ere Gentyl shows up here or she’ll have us all flogged!”

The longboat was tied up alongside the dock with a good deal of laughter and bellowing voices and slaps on the back as the kinsmen embraced one another and discussed their voyage. All told, seven men had accepted Haethulf’s offer. They rowed and sailed for four days from the Æþeling settlement on the shore of the Hinterlands south to come work outfitting Gentyl’s pirate ship

Haethulf told them what he knew of Gentyl, their lady-captain or héafodmægð, and he showed them around The Maiden. He explained that he had been hired as Gentyl’s boatswain and would serve as foreman for refurbishing of the vessel. The men discussed the enormity of the project, quickly divided the job into tasks, and decided who would be responsible for what.

To Eardward, the oldest among them and a man renown for his woodworking skill, was given the job of carving a buxom maiden figurehead to be fixed to the prow of the ship. The job of replacing the ship’s rudder (which was first thought only to be in need of repair) was assigned to Cuðbert. Wuffa, Baldwine, and Beornheard would handle the replacement of rotten and damaged wood throughout the ship. Brothers Caedmon and Cynefrid would begin the task of replacing the sails. All would take a turn at painting and every hand would be needed in installing the new mast.

The men worked hard and eagerly throughout each day and drank even more eagerly late into the evenings. With each receipt that Artemis received, she began to wonder whether the cost of the mead that flowed would ultimately top the cost of materials needed for the repairs.

And no news whatsoever of this work reached the ears of Wolfgaar.

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Animal Control Officer Tomini Brightpaw took out her notebook in order to confirm the address on the call for service. It did indeed match the address of the Old Town dwelling that she stood in front of. The nearby screeches of an angry gryphon left her with no doubt that she was in the right place. She knocked on the door and waited.

Moments later, an older human female with what looked to be a permanent frown opened the door. Without giving Tomini time to say a word, she launched into her prepared speech. “About time! About time! My building is in an uproar, I’m losing tenants left and right, and it takes the Watch half a day to send help!”

Tomini looked at her log which said the call had been made thirty minutes ago, but held her tongue and said instead, “I am sorry madam, that I could not arrive sooner. However, I am here now and can investigate your problem. You are the landlady Mrs. Dower, yes? You said that you had an abandoned gryphon on your hands?”

“I am, and I certainly do! One of my slacker tenants ran off and left his gryphon without food and water, like he expected me to take care of it? Well, I have enough to do around here. I should have been charging him for it this entire time!” She put her hands on her hips and gave Tomini a severe frowning, as Tomini apparently had taken on the role of substitute admonishment target in the absence of her tenant.

“That is terrible and wrong, madam. Please show me the gryphon, and I will handle the situation without further inconveniencing you.” Tomini smiled placatingly at the landlady.

The woman humphed, and motioned for Tomini to follow her around the side of the building, down a narrow alleyway to the small, rubbish-strewn backyard of the apartment building. They passed through a broken-down gate in a similarly broken-down wooden fence and found the gryphon chained to an iron stake outside of a shed that seemed to be its shelter. There was no food for it in sight, and only one bucket that no longer held water. The gryphon screeched at them and knocked the bucket towards them as soon as it saw them enter.

“Oh dear, poor thing,” Tomini sympathized. She smiled and made calming motions.

“Nasty-tempered creature,” snorted the landlady, without a trace of irony.

“She is starving and thirsty,” Tomini countered. “She will be in a much better mood once her needs are taken care of. We’ll start with water.” She took the bucket, and after learning the location of a nearby well from the landlady, returned with the bucket brimming with water. Scenting the water, the gryphon calmed down enough for Tomini to place it nearby.

While it drank the water greedily, Tomini took the opportunity to ask the landlady some questions about the situation. She took out her notebook. “Madam, do you know how long the animal has been without sustenance?”

“Well, a few days at least. I haven’t seen the tenant who owns him since last week. He’s a wagon driver and gone frequently, but he’s always left enough food and water for the bird before. I told him there’d be hell to pay if I ever had to deal with it, and there will be! I wasn’t lying!” She threatened Tomini with her fist.

“Yes madam,” Tomini replied calmly. “What is your tenant’s name?”

“Donnovan Wills. A fancier name than that man deserves.” The man’s very existence was obviously a deathly affront to Mrs. Dower by this point.

Tomini stared at the woman. “Donnovan Wills. Donnovan. Wills. DW. Oh my. One moment please.” The landlady gave Tomini as suspicious look as she moved out of earshot. She called dispatch on her communicator. “Hello, Officer Brightpaw here. Could you confirm that a man named Donnovan Wills lives at this address?” She read the address off to the dispatcher, and was told to wait several minutes for confirmation. In the meantime, she walked back to Mrs. Dower.

“My apologizes. Could you describe Mr. Wills for me, please?”

“Not much to describe. He’s a human. Dull-looking and not too bright. Smells of drink half the time. I’d evict him in a moment, except he always pays on time, unlike half these wretches I’m cursed to call my tenants.” She sniffed disdainfully.

Tomini mused, “It is rather odd that a man who lives he…er, in this part of town can afford to own and keep a gryphon.”

I thought so,” nodded Mrs. Dower conspiratorially. “But around here, it’s best not to ask questions when people come into a bit of coin.”

Tomini nodded back, before her communicator indicated an incoming message. She moved off again to a discrete distance. It was the dispatcher calling to confirm that a Donnovan Wills did indeed live there.

“Wow,” whispered Tomini to herself. She responded to the dispatcher, “would you contact Lieutenant Sedgegrave please?”

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((This should have been posted before Haethulf’s relatives arrived. I am a slackard. Oops. Mea Culpa. Also a bit of re-plowed ground, but so it goes.)

Gentyl stood on a bank her with Haethulf not far from Booty Bay scouting out some pirate ships. “This is Booty Bay then?” he said. “Who do these scips belong to? Whose colors do they fly?” Her dragon grew restless waiting and padded off, snapping the head off a large lizard that wandered too close. He tossed it in the air and gulped it down. She’d have to let him hunt soon before he started looking for easy meals like cows.

“Pirates. Look at the one on the right. She’s crippled. They’re working on her. The next time the fleet sails out, I intend to take her if I have a crew in hand in time. I have a few tricks I can use.”

He borrowed my glass to scan her. “She’s a good scrip. There are your cannon.”

“Yes, let’s go look at the Maiden.” She whistled to Ronan who waddled over and lowered down so they could mount.

Haethulf disembarked on the deck and looked around. “This is a fine scip. And room to land a dragon.” He grinned.

I winked at him. “She is. I love her and yes. Room for dragons.” I whistled again to Ronan to let him free to go hunt. Hopefully large fish and not fisherman. "As you can see, she’s ravaged.

He nodded. “I will not deceive you… she is in terrible shape. Sadly, far beyond what is obvious to the eye.” He looks concerned. “This…Come take a look at this.” He kneels down before the mast. “Here. Look here. He pulls a board away from the trim around the mast. Do you see this? Rot. The bottom of this mast is rotted out. The entire thing must be replaced. Can you get a mast?”

She looked to all the rest of the rig. “Then perhaps all of them?”

“Let us see.” He popped boards from the other masts and examined them. “This mast is not original. It has already been replaced. Hmm… no… this one does not show the same signs of damage. This one has been replaced too. You are lucky. This is guð willspell. Good news.”

“Good. I could use some.”

He shakes his head, hands on his hips. “But the center mast, the main, it must be replaced. This is no small feat. I expect you don’t have the money or men to replace it.”

There was an amused laugh. “So, here’s what I propose. You know that pirate ship I was looking at earlier?”

“Aye?” He begins to smirk, the plan coming to him.

“When that fleet sails, I’m going to take that ship. They leave a skeleton crew to work on it. I’ve been having people gathering snakes for me. Put them in clay jars and lob them on to the deck just before the attack. No one looks to see if they are poisonous or not. Most will just start fighting snakes or bailing off the ship. Then the ones left either join my crew or dance the depths. I will take the ship.”

“That mast… would fit this ship.”

“We’ll take what we need to refit the Maiden and scuttle her.”

He grins broadly. “You know what I think?”

“What?”

“I think you will make a fine héafodmann. Captain,” and bows before her.

There was a slight shrug. "Thank you. If I don’t get everyone killed.

“That is always a risk. But what else is there to life for but risk?”

“True.”

“What is your timing? And I still need to examine the keel. Nothing is good if the keel is not good.”

“I still need more people, but the end of the week maybe, to take the pirate ship. I’m not in a hurry on the Maiden. I want her done right. Your supplies should be here tomorrow.”

He’s still moving around the ship examining it, and starts climbing up the rigging. “It will take many men to capture that vessel. And still many more to carry and move the mast. More than a crew, I fear. Can you get me workmen?”

“I put word out in Booty Bay. You can start on repairs while I finish gathering my crew.”

“There is plenty of work to be done that I can begin right away if you get supplies to me.”

In the distance was a high roar. Ronan had prey in sight. She took out her glass. He was diving down into the water and came up with a small whale. A nearby fishing trawler was about in panic, she was sure. “Can you get any of your kinsmen? I’ll look in Boralus, too.”

“A rudder!”

“Bad”

“Blast”

He was grinning like an old maid with a secret now. “But se guð willspell is that the keel is in surprisingly good shape. She has good bones!”

“Wonderful.”

“Paint. Lumber. Nails. Sailcloth. Rope. I will begin my work right away. Even without supplies, I can begin stripping the scip of rotted holtwudu.”

“All right.”

“Do you have any other orders, Héafodmægð?”

She hands the man a bag of gold. “Use it as you see fit. If you can bring your kin in, please do so. I pay well and there will be plunder.”

He takes it willingly “I may be able to do just that. Have three cousins and another brother that would be good for this project.”

“Before I leave, let me show you my cabin.”

He stops at the doorway.

She motions him in. “Come in.”

Looking around, he sizes the cabin up. “You will have many comforts here.”

“Hmmm, yes, eventually. The bed.”

“If it is not to your liking, I can bring in another.”

“Can you make furniture?”

“Of course.”

“I need one made that is a bit more fancy and it needs to have secret compartments that not even the most discerning eye will find. Let people think a foolish woman has extravagant tastes. Like one of those Pandaran puzzle boxes only larger.”

He grins and nods

“It shall be done.”

“Thank you. I like dark wood. Mahogany or cherry. I’ll redecorate later.”

"Good choice. Mahogany is a good wood to work with. It will be a good choice for the intricate levers that we will need.

“Do you know a wood carver?”

“My cousin.”

She laid out some drawings of the bed she wanted on a table. “Can you get him?”

“He … made designs … in our clan’s mead hall. I will do my best. I believe I can. He spends quite a bit of time drunc, but if I can keep him from cups, he will do good work”

He made a few suggestions she agreed with and she left the design on the table." Also, we already discussed the figurehead. A golden-haired maiden. Beautiful in a flowing gown like she’s rising up out of the sea. He can do that?"

He nodded. “That is a guð þanc. I can see it in my mind’s eye.”

“I want men to appreciate the maiden when she sails in.”

“Oh, they will… one way or another. They will learn to appreciate her. Or fear her.”

Her eyes turned cold. “They will for sure fear her. I intend to burn the world down before I’m done.”

He hesitates, and clears his throat. “Héafodmægð, I must ask…”

“Aye, sir?”

“Why does a Light-Bearer turn to this life? It does not seem … fitting.”

“I was the bodyguard to Bishop LeMaye who was an exiled holy man. We were the Incorruptibles. People who couldn’t be bought or corrupted. They were exiled with him. My cousin was. Several were sent to camps to be tortured.”

He makes a sign and frowns. “What was the crime he was accused of?”

“He refused to turn a blind eye to corruption in Stormwind and a nobleman had him exiled.”

He uttered and oath under his breath.

“I got tired of our people being picked off and taken to these camps and started using similar practices to get them back. LeMaye felt I was getting too violent. Then when I heard about Hearthglen being attacked with plagued wheat and my cousin eating some of it and dying that was it. My cousin’s order thought they had foiled the plot and gotten rid of all of it, but missed some. She found it and baked some cookies. Died horribly and begged a friend to kill her.”

“Who made this attack?”

“That’s what I intend to find out. As near as I can tell, Pia, that was my cousin’s order, messed up some powerful people and they decided to take them out.”

“Hearthglen is not in Orwyn’s jurisdiction. He can’t investigate, but I can.”

“They thought everyone would just let it go. I’m not going to. Just a terrible accident.”

He bangs his fist on the table. “Never.”

“I’m going to track them down. Every one of them and they will die most violently and ruin their families. Many were merchants. I will destroy them.”

“Who do you suspect of this vicious crime?”

“I don’t know. I’m quietly spreading word sending out rewards for information. Someone will be talking after all this time. Silk is hanging out at the Pig and Whistle. She’s been dropping information around town she’s looking for information. I’ll kill someone in Stormwind and send a message. I’m coming for you.”

He kneels down before her. “You have my sword, Héafodmægð.”

“Thank you. I will need it. The lumber should arrive tomorrow. The live oak, try to put as much in the hull as you can. It’s like iron.”

He looks around again. “I should get started.”

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Gentyl flew in in on Ronan, hapily surprised to see the longboat and Haethulf’s kin already there.

A massive pile of wood lay discarded on the beach. She was wearing black breaches and thigh high black boots with silver buckles. A red sash around her waist, white ruffled blouse and black waistcoat with a bit of gold braid at the collar. She had on a plain seaman’s cap and jumped down from the dragon lightly. She patted the black dragon. “Ronan, go hunt. It’s too crowded around here for you to be getting in the way.”

The dragon shook his head, but lifted heavily and flew away.

“Haethulf! Who are these fine fellows you kidnapped? I think this calls for a party. I’ll have someone send a beef up here and we’ll roast a beef and see about some other food. We need more mead for sure.”

She looked around delighted at the men. Tossing the jacket onto a lumber pile nearby, she rolled up her sleeves. “What can I do to help?”

She started singing “Oh, when I left you in the moonlight, little darling,
Did you know then the sea would call me ever ever away?”

Silk meandered into Gen’s office midmorning, disheveled and yawning. Gen looked up from the paperwork and shook her head. “Are you just getting up?”

“We had a long night.”

"Doing anything productive?’

Silk sprawled out in a chair near the door and looked at her nails. “I suppose that depends on what your definition of productive is. Jack has been experimenting with—”

Gen held her hand up. “I really don’t want to hear about you and Jack unless he somehow remembers he’s a pirate.”

Silk looks a bit puzzled. “Oh, I think he knows he’s a pirate. We talk about that. He’s just bored.”

“So, you do talk?”

“Sometimes.”

“Have you accomplished anything else, pray tell?”

“I have the tide tables you wanted, and I found out where John Boyd is. I’ve even been to visit him.”

The pen in Gen’s hand stopped mid-sentence. A drop of ink fell onto the page. Her breath caught. This was excellent news. She’d been watching the Dalaran banker all week. He has bodyguards around his estate and never leaves without two with him at all times. High fences, but not insurmountable. It would be a challenge, but she had the place thoroughly scouted and was ready to take him. She’d rather have Boyd first and move her way up the ladder. The banker wouldn’t be keeping up with a nobody, but when she took out the banker, that would make news and Boyd might go to ground.

“You’ve seen him?”

Silk rolled her eyes. “I had drinks with him. Got him drunk. Had him take me back to his place. He thinks he seduced me, but I had him smoking dreamweed and I whispered all kinds of things to him. He was living some wild fantasies.”

She shouldn’t have underestimated the woman. When Silk was on a mission, she was like a bloodhound. “Where is he?” She picked up an apple from a bowl on her desk and started peeling it. As was her habit, she peeled it in one continual round, trying not to break the peel. When she was done, she tossed the coil out the door to the chickens who snatched it up and tugged it to pieces. Then she sliced the apple up and started eating it slowly, thinking about how she was going to kill the man.

“He’s in Moonbrook. He lives in a small shack there.” Silk shrugged. “He hasn’t been there long. I think he’s hiding out. Maybe he heard about Donnovan. His belongings are still in bags and boxes mostly.”

“All right. Let’s move on him before he gets spooked and moves again. I thought he was in Redridge.”

“He was. I tracked him down.”

“He’s expecting you?”

She stood and stretched. “Yes, I met with him the next day and told him I wasn’t sure I could handle much of him by myself again. Asked if I could bring a friend. Gods, men and their egos. He’s busting to do it again.”

Later that afternoon, Silk gathered up a bag with sliced ham, cheese, rolls, grapes, apples, wine, dreamweed, and chocolate cookies. They wore the same outfits, covered, with plain dresses to escape notice until they arrived at Boyd’s house. Moonbrook was populated with outlaws and vagrants, and the chances of them talking to the law were slim, but you never know. A few gold dropped here or there could loosen lips. Gen was not in the habit of taking chances.

“That fisherman always leaves the little dock around five,” Silk said, “regular as clockwork. Mama must have supper on the table. The tide comes in at 6:17. We’ll have about an hour to play. Sunset is close to seven.”

There was a soft chuckle. “You’ve done your homework.”

“Of course. I know you like things tight.”

“As much as possible. There are always kinks in the plan, but a failure to plan is a plan to fail.”

John Boyd was a middle-aged man. Like Wills, drink had wasted him somewhat, but he was harder, larger and had a rougher edge to him. This man, Gen thought by looking in his eyes, liked to hurt people and things. He would be more dangerous. It would not do to be a child or a frail woman in his grasp. If she had any qualms about killing him before, and she didn’t, she certainly didn’t now. Some men just needed to die.

She looked around his shack and then back at the man and smiled. He patted the bed beside him. “Come here, chicky. Let me look at you. Kind of plain, aren’t ye?”

Gen shrugged. “I didn’t want to get my dress mussed when I flew down.” She unbuttoned the simple cotton blue dress slowly, watching him. His eyes lit when the dress pooled at her feet revealing the enticing outfit underneath.

“Yah, that’s more like it. Come here.” His arm snaked out and grabbed her arm wrenching it as he did.

She laughed deep and throaty. “Oh, in such a hurry? We have all night and so many delightful things planned for you.”

He had pulled her onto his lap was kissing on her neck. “Really? Like what?”

“How about you let us show you? We found a delightful place by the water where we can play some…uh, special games. Get that blanket off your bed and let us show you.”

“Mmm, all right. I like games. Maybe I’ll show you some of mine.”

“Oh, I hope so.”

Silk and Gen put their cloaks back on and went outside. If anyone noticed them, they made no note. They sat on their gryphons and waited for Boyd to get his mount. He had a fine one, expensive, sleek and ill-tempered. Like his master, no doubt.

“Follow us,” Gen said when he was ready.

The spot Gen had picked out was a little dock nearby with a lighthouse not too far distant. Silk had brought her lute. They would feed him Entertain him. Get him mellow. Tie him to the dock and wait for the tide to come in and drown him. She thought about staking him out to an ant pile, but there was a chance someone might find him. This way she would know he was dead.

“We brought food,” Gen said when they landed. “And lots of wine. A little dreamweed. And more imagination than, well, you can imagine.”

He laughed. “I like that. I have big appetites.”

“And we’ll feed them all, big boy.” She chucked him under the chin and growled low in her throat, taking off her cloak. “Man in Dalaran said he’s going to have a job for you soon and wanted us to take good care of you. We’re sort of a down payment. Some banker.”

John grinned. “I wondered where you came from. Wonder what he’s planning. Always pays well with that man.”

Silk smiled. “Paid us well and we’ll make sure he gets his money’s worth.” She laid out the blanket on the sand next to the dock. “Maybe you’ll recommend us?”

“Make me happy and I will, Chicky. Got to earn it.” He puffed up a bit with his newfound power.

“Let’s eat first. Take your clothes off. Get comfortable.” Silk had already stripped out of her cloak and peasant dress.

John groaned at the sight of her in the diaphanous gown. “No offense, what was your name?”

“Heather, love.”

“Heather, but there’s just something about elves. Their legs go on forever.”

“I’m short,” Gen shrugged, “but I make up for it in other ways.” She winked at him and peeled an apple, never breaking it as was her habit. She tossed the coiled peel to the side and cut some slices to feed the man. “I love juicy apples, don’t you?”

“Mmmhmmm.” He licked her fingers. “Good.”

She shivered. “Oh, yes.”

They continued to feed him and make over him. Ply him with wine. “Do you like to dance?” Gen asked. “I do.”

Silk started playing and Gen sang, soft and low. It was a sort of lullabye. They had lit his pipe for him and he inhaled, watching as she shifted in the light, night breeze, the veils of her skirt lifting and swaying. One caught and drifted away.

“Ye look like a fairy.”

There was an amused answering laugh. “Maybe I am.” Silk continued to play, lulling him further into dreamland. He started to nod.

“Come here, woman,” he growled.

She finished the dance and padded over, fed him some cookies. “Are you ready for dessert?”

He nodded, eyes glazed. “I’m ready for something.”

“Yes, I believe you are. Let’s play.” She pushed him back gently and straddled him.

Silk cut some strips from the bottom of the blanket.

“How about I tie you up and do wicked things to your body?” She smiled and looped one end of the strip around one of his hands.

“How about I knock you out and do whatever I want to yours?” He doubled up his fist and hit her under the chin, sending her flying. She shook her head, trying to clear the stars. Silk cracked a wine bottle over his head and he fell heavily on her.

“Ugh, help get him off me.” She was still groggy from the hit, but helped Silk tie his hands behind his back and tie his feet. They rolled him back over just as he was coming to. She hurried to cram cookies in his mouth and gag him, then rocked back on her heels. “That wasn’t very nice, John.”

“I believe that’s going to leave a mark,” Silk said.

“I’m sure it will, but John is sorry, isn’t he?” He nodded his head. “Not as sorry as you will be, bucko. Get the rope.” His eyes went wide.

Gen threaded the rope around his chest and under his arms. “You’re a big fish. We’re going to have to tie you up good.” She sat back and patted his face. “I’m sure you realize by now the Dalaran banker didn’t send us. My cousin did actually. Her name was Gentyl D’Amond of the Pia Presidium. Perhaps you recall her? Your friend told us about how funny you thought her death was.” Gen shrugged. “Alas, I have no sense of humor, only a very strong sense of revenge. Tag, you’re it!” She bopped him on the nose and giggled.

“Do you like to swim?”

He shook his head violently.

“No, I don’t suppose you do all trussed up like a Winter’s Veil goose. Well, let’s try.” They rolled him over to the dock edge and measured off the rope. “Relax. We’re not going to sink you. But the tide is coming in and you know what happens when it does. Gurgle gurgle.”

He splashed heavily into the water and then bobbed up again. They tied him so his nose was a few inches above the water. Silk dove into the water and swam around the pylon to secure his legs to it. With him firmly lashed so, he wasn’t going anywhere.

“Would you like some more music, John? I would.”

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bunc9AaHRmI)

Silk started playing again and Gen danced on the dock, swaying and swirling. Singing along. “My cousin was the real musician in the family, but I’m told my voice isn’t bad. What do you think? Oh, don’t answer. Just nod your head.” She laughed. “Or not. You might get water in your nose. I hate it when that happens, don’t you?”

She hopped up on the pylon and continued dancing. “Such a beautiful sunset. I’m sure you don’t appreciate it, but it really is quite lovely. Especially with that bubbling. Hard to appreciate anything when you’re drowning, isn’t it? Well, take my word for it. It is gorgeous.”

She leaped into the water to look into the dying man’s eyes. “Don’t ever mess with a D’Amond, John. It’s just not healthy.” She kissed his forehead. “And I will be queen and you will be king, dilly dilly. Of the fishes, I suppose. Goodnight, love.”

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Gen kept a separate office from the Arete headquarters. It wasn’t that she didn’t enjoy the mead hall. It was perfectly lovely; it was just she had private business that Arete didn’t need to be involved in. Especially if things went sideways as criminal operations sometimes did regardless of how well you tried to run them. Plus, she was sure Arete didn’t want to listen to the squabbling going on between her “crew” such as it was. Destiny had been attached like a barnacle to her cousin Gentyl. When she died and Gen moved to Stormwind to put the Pia affairs in order and set the wheels of revenge in motion, Destiny had attached herself to Gen. There were no questions asked. It simply was. Gen had evicted her out of her desk, however. She needed that bottom drawer, and gnomes being gnomes you just never knew what they were going to drag in. The desk in Hearthglen was home to an elaborate tunnel system the gnomes used. No thank you.

Destiny had to make do with a room of her own. Usually. Sometimes Gen came into the office and found her curled up in the hope chest under the window. It had been her grandmothers, then her aunt’s, then Gentyl’s. Now hers. She was tempted to flip the cedar top down on the sleeping gnome and lock the chest, but didn’t. Destiny had been warned about breaking into the office when she wasn’t here.

Coffee. She’d get some coffee and that would put her in a better mood. “I already made it,” Destiny mumbled as if she could read her mind. “You’re late.”

“So I see,” Gen said, pouring a cup. “Some new horses came in. I had to look at them. Do you want a cup and what are you doing here?”

“Already had some,” she said with a yawn. “I had to talk to you before you got all busy like.”

“I’m pretty busy already. What do you need?” She took a sip of the coffee which was surprisingly good.

“I’m here to warn you about Orwhen.”

“Who?”

“Orwhen! Orwhen! That guy with the Stormwind Union. The cop.”

“Oh, Orwyn.”

“That’s what I said.”

“What about him, Destiny?”

She clambered out of the chest and hopped up on the corner of Gen’s desk. Usually, Destiny wore some black leathers and a face mask. Today she was in bib overalls rolled up to her knees and little yellow tee-shirt. “I know what you’ve been up to and I’m here to warn you.”

Gen had learned long ago to never underestimate a gnome and especially not this one who could turn up anywhere. What exactly did Destiny know? “Up to?”

“Yup. Who goes to a boring demonstration about police techniques unless they’re a criminal or interested in joining the cops? Trust me, you don’t want to join that crew. They are a bunch of . . .” she searched for the right word. “You don’t want to join them.”

Gen felt the tension go out of her shoulders. “Why not?”

Destiny waved her hands in the air and started describing her recent experience with them when she found a bobby.

“I just wanted to go fishing and there was this bobby. When I realized what it was, I went back to Stormwind to report it, but there was no one in the office, so I waited for someone to come in.”

“They were probably out getting donuts,” Gen said. “Or harassing some poor citizen about fishing with explosives.”

“Uh huh. Anyway, finally, this gal comes in and asks me if I’ve been helped. I look around and say, ‘Unless this is a self-serve place. I don’t guess so.’” Destiny peers around the room imitating her actions.

"‘No need to fear, we are here to keep the city safe for all,’ Miss Chipper says.

Gen listens to the story unfold.

Destiny pulled an apple out of her pocket and started eating it. “Well, not doing a bang-up job of it are you?”

Then another officer walked in all spit and polish looking like he’d just stuck his finger in a gnomish electrical experiment and stood his short gray hair on end. Sedgegrave was his name according the name the woman had whispered in relief. He goes into the keeping the city safe routine and Destiny throws herself backwards on the floor in frustration, sprawled out like a starfish staring at the ceiling. Sedgegrave peers down at her. “Do you require medical assistance?”

“I require someone with a brain. Got any of those around here? Keep your hands off me. Don’t be poking around on me. Don’t be treating me. Unless you have a beer. You can treat me to a beer.”

Sedgegrave frowned. “No one’s going to start medical treatment if you don’t need medical treatment, madam.”

The woman rolls her eyes. “If you want a beer, the Pig and Whistle is a well-established tavern, in Old Town.”

Sedgegrave is equally unhelpful. “We don’t have any beer, no.”

Destiny rolls her eyes in imitation of the woman. “Great, now I have a tour guide.”

The woman had largely remained silent through all this, but had moved across the office as if she might be looking to summon help. “Do you have something to report?”

Destiny hopped up and sat on the desk to finish her apple. “I found a bobby. Think you can handle that?”

Sedgegrave looked suddenly interested. “Hear that, Ky? A…body?”

“A bobby,” Destiny repeats and gets another apple from her pocket. “I thought you people were supposed to have donuts.” She makes a motion with her hands bobbing up and down.

Sedgegrave watches her hands as if they are playing charades. “Something floating.”

Destiny gives him a thumbs up. “Down there up and down up and down ruining my favorite fishing spot.”

“A floating body.”

She takes another bite of her apple. “Yeah, and he’s ruining my fishing spot.”

Kylamur sighs.

“Ok, now we’re making progress,” shocked top says and takes out his notebook. “Your name please, madam?”

“Destiny.”

“Full name, please.”

The woman starts taking her own note

“Why? You think I did it? I want a lawyer.”

He hastens to calm her. Putting his hand up. “No no. As the finder of the body and a witness, we need your name for the case file.”

She narrows her eyes at him. “Don’t you have to give me my rights or something?”

“You’re not being accused of anything.”

Kylamur looks at Sedgegrave and then Destiny not bothering to hide her skepticism about the gnome

Destiny isn’t really convinced. “Oh,” she says meekly.

“Full name then, please?”

“Destiny DeShawn Sprockett.” Might as well throw suspicion on someone else.

"Thank you. Stormwind resident?

Destiny wrinkles up her nose. “When I have to be.”

Kylamur writes in her notebook while all this is going on.

Sedgegrave has become all business. “How long ago did you find the body?”

“About, uh, thirty minutes ago.”

Another officer has come in, but sits in a corner listening inquisitively, taking mental notes and studying some papers. “Hello, Andreya,” Sedgegrave greets.

Kylamur adds more notes which Destiny peeks at. What snarky attitude?

“All right. Did you pull the body ashore, or did you leave it in the water?” Sedgegrave asks.

“Uh, what happens if I don’t give you actual information?” Destiny looks around the office at the desks piled with paperwork and the walls plastered with wanted posters, wondering how she would look with her face up there. Probably pretty fetching compared to some of those other goons.

Sedgegrave lifts his pencil from the notebook and frowns. “You could put yourself in legal jeopardy.”

Destiny sighs and flops back dramatically on the desk.

Someone named Alayothan tries to maintain appearance of reading over his manuals and medical reports, but is making discreet glances over at the interesting conversation across the room. Sedgegrave comments to him every now and then.

“There’s no reason to not give us actual information, is there?” says Sedgegrave as he stares at the gnome who is sprawled out on the desk.

“Sprockett isn’t my real last name,” Destiny says and raises her hands so they can cuff her and stuff her.

Sedgegrave looks at his notes and sighs. “All right. Let’s back up and you can give us your real last name.”

“Destiny DeShawn Conagher.”

Kylamur watches the gnome carefully.

“Yeah, I know,” Destiny says. “Sounds real gnomey doesn’t it? I was adopted. By dwarves.”

“No need to be ashamed of that,” he replies. “Now, did you leave the body in the water?”

“It’s a human. Kind of like me trying to fish a whale out.” She sticks her finger down her throat in a gagging motion. “Besides. Ick.”

“Yes, better to leave it in the water for our Forensics team to fish out,” Kylamur says.

“They’re welcome to him. I like my guys a little more lively.”

Sedgegrave all bust and business, flips his notebook shut. “All right. Please take us there, and we’ll hope it’s still nearby.”

Destiny lowers her arms. “You’re not going to arrest me?”

“Not today.”

The woman looks a bit disappointed.

He looks around. “All of you, with me.”

“It’s down by the waterfall,” Destiny says.

“We’ll follow you to the exact spot.”

Destiny leads them toward the body, but circles through the cemetery and steals some fresh flowers off a grave. Once she gets to the body, she lays the flowers down for the dead guy

“Where were you when you first saw the body?” Sedgegrave asks.

"Well there I was, just making my way out to my favorite fishing spot when lo and behold, what should I espy with my little green eyes. Someone swimming in my favorite spot. Naked. ‘Get away from there, you pervert,’ I cried. Me being a nice you lady and all.

“I put my hands over my eyes like this.” She holds her hands over her eyes with split fingers so she can peek out.

“Go on,” Sedgegrave says.

“I just wanted to make sure he was getting out of the water doncha know. Nope, he was just layin there in the water sunnin his backside. And a pretty nice backside it was.”

“So he was facedown?” he asks, continuing to write.

They’ve fished the body out of the water now and Andreya kneels down beside the body.

“Aye,” Destiny answers. “Then I thought. Who swims with their face down in the water? Well, druids, but they aren’t normal. So, I nudged him, and he just bobbed. I says to myself, I found a bobby!”

Alayothan perks up and looks at the gnome after the “druid” comment.

“I will remove the gag now, in case there is some kind of message,” Kylamur says.

Andreya is checking out a quilt found nearby. “Quite damp, sea water it seems. There’s a few fibers and stains I can’t quite make any direct link to.” she says as she moves around the quilt and surrounding area.

Kylamur carefully removes the gag, “There appears to be food in his mouth, cookies?” She’s too busy examining the body to notice the gnome at the moment. Leaving the questioning to Sedge.

Sedgegrave gazes over at the body and pauses the questioning. “Hmm.”

The woman continues examining the body and looks at the victim’s arms, “Cuts are shallow, meant to cause a lot of bleeding.”

Sedgegrave nods.

Destiny is soaking her feet in the water now splashing them up and down. The fisherman in the boat nearby glares at her. “How frequently do you come here to fish?” Sedgegrave asks.

Destiny points at the fisherman. “I think he did it.”

Sedgegrave looks at the startled man. “He’s just a local fisherman.” The man puts his oars to water and rows away.

“Quite a bit when I’m in Stormwind. Don’t need a license those pesky Watch people always yapping…Uh sometimes.”

Kylamur examines the ring on the man’s right hand, gently she pulls it off. “Sir there are initials etched on the inside, DW. And he has a chest tattoo with the name Donovan.”

“Well that’s damn convenient.” He makes note of that.

Kylamur says, almost pondering to herself. “It could be he has a male friend named Donovan…”

“Do you see a lot of other people out here fishing?” Sedgegrave asks.

“I fish here to get away from people and pests.”

“So, it’s a pretty quiet spot you’d say.”

“Aye.”

“Don’t most people get a tattoo of a name of a loved one? Spouse? Maybe a deceased family member?” Alayothan asked.

“Would you please show me how you got down here?”

Destiny rolls her eyes. "When we get through here could I fill out an application to become chief detective?

“Certainly.”

“Good. Because I got here the exact same way I led you out here. Want me to do it again? I rowed out here in that little boat. And you followed me in your little boats.”

“So that boat is always there?”

“Unless someone else is using it, yes. I row my little boat back and forth. Row row row your boat.”

Sedgegrave points to his people. “Examine that boat in case they used it also.”

Kylamur ignores the gnome’s question on becoming a detective and looks at Alayothan, “In your opinion, did he die from the shark attack or did he bleed out first?”

Alayothan looks at the body. “Considering the food in his mouth, along with the gag, I think it might’ve been a tie between asphyxiation and blood loss from the cuts. The shark probably just found a snack once the body was dumped in the drink.”

“Sir, I couldn’t find anything conclusive with the quilt as the investigation stands. The strips binding him were cut from it as was the gag, but I’d need more information to refine my search. Apologies.” Andreya shuffles nervously. “I’ll keep checking.”

Sedgegrave motions toward the boat. "Officer Alayothan, would you get a sample of blood from the boat interior, please?

“Aye, sir.”

He swivels his attention back to Destiny who is almost out of apples and is bored. She watches as Kylamur steadies the boat so Alay can examine the insides. Maybe the wench will fall in the water. “When was the last time you were here before this, ma’am?”

Alayothan pulls a empty vial from his pouch and collects a small sample of blood. He also takes a clean strip of cloth and dabs up some blood, wraps it up, and places it inside the pouch, along with the vial.

Andreya moves between the quilt and corpse, looking for similarities,

Sigren flies down and lands on the beach. “Saw a bunch of blue, figured I’d come be nosy. What’s goin on?”

Destiny runs over to her and throws her arms around her leg. “Sig, save me.”

Sigren arches a brow and looks down at the gnome. “From what? The good guys?”

“They’re interrogratin me. I found a bobby.”

“You found who?”

Destiny points to the dead man. “A bobby.”

“A… oh, a BODY.”

Sedgegrave eyes Sigren up and down.

“I think they think I killed him.” Destiny tries to look mean.

“We don’t think that.”

“I mean, I know a lot of psychotic gnomes, but you’re not really on the list,” Sigren replies.

"You’re Ms. Sigren, aren’t you ma’am? "Sedgegrave asks.

Destiny gets out another apple and starts eating it. This may get interesting.

Sigren nods. “Good to know my reputation still precedes me, even if it’s with the law.”

“Well, I’ve been around a while myself. So, you’re acquainted, it looks like.”

“With who, the midget or the stiff?”

Sedgegrave gestures to Destiny.

Kylamur looks with suspicion at the Kaldorei

She smirks and nods. “If it’s any help, I also didn’t kill Bobby.”

Destiny shakes her head. “No, she didn’t. I’m her alibi. We were knitting socks for orphans and stuff.”

Sigren rolls her eyes. “Even if they didn’t know me, they wouldn’t believe that, shorty.”

“Tryin to help, sig,” Destiny, whispers.

Sigren pats Destiny on the noggin. “Don’t worry. I didn’t have anything to do with it, so it’s not a problem. I don’t think you did, either.”

“Of course, I didn’t. Why would I kill such a fine specimen?”

Alayothan removes pieces of rope fibers collected from the boat. “These as well. Might be able to match them to the rope he was tied up with.”

“Sir, we found some rope fibers for the forensics team to match to the rope on the body,” Kylamur says.

“I think that’ll be all the questions for now, Ma’am,” he says. “Thank you for your assistance.” He nods at Kylamur.

Andreya holds up some samples. “The fibers from the quilt and the strip removed perfectly match the bindings on the corpse, sir.”

Sedgegrave motions Kylamur over and leans over and speaks quietly to her. She keeps an eye on both the Kaldorei and the gnome.

Destiny finished the tale and looked at Gen knowingly. “So, you see. You don’t really want to join the Union, do you? Can you imagine how bored you would be? And I know you. You would probably drown that snippy gal and swear the Light came down and baptized her.”

“You must be very distraught, Destiny. You poor thing. Finding a bobby and all.”

Destiny nods. “Yes, it was terrible. What a waste of a perfectly lovely man.”

“Well, he probably wasn’t very nice if someone killed him. We’ll find you a nice gnome fellow.”

Destiny stared at her dumbfounded. “What are you talking about? I have a boyfriend. I just need someone tall to reach things and saddle my horse and stuff.”

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Haethulf bowed slightly when Gentyl pulled the drake up before him. “Evening, Héafodmægð.”

“Sir Haethulf. You are well?”

“I am. The men itch for a fight.”

“The fight is here. There will be murder this night.”

The men standing around smiled, shifting restlessly, eager to mount.

Gentyl put her visor down and check the packs on her drake. “Shall we? Each of you take one of these bags on my drake. They are filled with jars of snakes. Circle over the ship before we land and drop the jars on the deck. The snakes aren’t poisonous, but they won’t know that. While they’re in a panic, we attack.”

Since she had a small band, she’d decided to use every advantage. Fighting with honor was nice. Fighting to win was nicer.

Haethulf grinned wickedly. “Yus!”

They mounted up and rode to the bay, circling the ship and dropping the snakes on the unsuspecting pirates. The rest of the ships were out of the bay leaving only this one which was still being repaired.

With the pirates still confused and fighting snakes as much as the attackers, they dove from the sky and set to them with bloodcurdling screams. The pirates fought bravely, but in the end were no match for her Northmen. “Join me or dance in the deep,” Gen shouted. “I want no survivors to tell who took the ship.”

A few dove off the ship and tried to swim away.

“Shoot them,” Gen ordered.

Gen picked up a snake slithering across the toe of her boot and walked over to throw it overboard. She held it up close to her face. “Good job, my friend. Now go home.” The snake curled around and bit her wrist. “Oh, no. Shouldn’t have bitten, Mama.” She grabbed it by the tail with her other hand and snapped it like a whip, breaking its neck and threw it overboard.

Four pirates refused to surrender and kept fighting. Only five agreed to join her crew. The rest lay dead or dying.

Gen shook her head. “I don’t know why more wouldn’t join my crew. Do you think it’s something about my personality? I wonder. Do you think it’s my personality? Or maybe the snakes?”

Haethulf chuckles at you. “It cannot be your personality, Héafodmægð! Must only be the snakes.”

Gen picks up a snake that slithers by and tosses it off the boat. “It must be.”

Haethulf directs Cuthbert to take the helm and instructs Baldwine, Beornheard, and Ceolwulf to lower the sails

“Lots of fine cannon here, Héafodmægð,” he says. “And they have been provisioning the ship. She would have been ready to sail in a week. She’ll make it to the cove as is.” He salutes her. They must be using this for storage while they work on it. We have some cargo as well as a ship."

“We can certainly use that! Let’s get rid of the snakes. We’ll get some cats to get rid of any that are still around.” She strokes the mast of the ship. This will do very nicely."

“We’ll need to get this thing to the cove before they return so we can work on it. We’ll have this vessel stripped of everything useful and its cargo unloaded by week’s end! Then we can get to work on removing the mainmast. The rest, we’ll tow to shea and set alight.”

Gen nods. She hates to torch the ship, but she doesn’t have a crew for two ships, and she doesn’t need the pirates hunting her if they recognize their ship. “Good. : I want her completely scuttled. I told the supplier in Booty Bay to keep the liquor flowing and keep beef and food stocked.”

"They’ve done well in keeping the men satisfied. Thank you, Héafodmægð "

She looked around at the men. They’d need to make a run soon and sell cargo. The men would need to stay paid and would be getting restless as soon as the ship was finished. “We’ll need to make sure they are paid.”

“A little weorðmyndum goes a long way with this lot.”

She frowned. “What is that?”

“Treasure.”

“Aye, sir.”

“Riches. And you have been a fulguð máððumgyfa.” He nods to Gen with thanks.

“Translation please?”

His brow knitted momentarily “You have been a ‘very good treasure-giver’, lady. I will learn your language, I promise.”

A contemplative smile crossed her face. “Ah, well, wait until we hit the seas. I intend to reap them heavily.”

“A “máððumgyfa” is one whom men will follow because from him…er, her, treasure flows.”

“We can farm the seas like rich land. I will soon know the routes of certain merchant lines and we’ll hit them hard. We’ll be waiting for them.”

Haethulf took another sip of a bottle of rum he’d found. “As you know, two of my cyn have agreed to hire on. However, if ye wish, I believe I can persuade others.”

“I want every one of your kin you can find. I want them all. Let’s turn the sea red.”

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