“Didn’t you mother ever tell you pointing was rude?” asked the norn.
“Why do you think I’m doing it in the first place?” asked Daniel. Simon gave out an amused snort. Argus was not amused.
“Argus is here because we’ll need his services.” Said Serenity as placed a large sheet of paper onto the table we were standing around. Serenity had lead us to her home to share the information she had discovered. Upon arriving we found Argus there, yet Slim and Salus were nowhere to be seen. Serenity motioned us to draw closer, to inspect the sheet of paper more closely.
“What is this?” I asked, noticing that this was some sort of blueprint of a building.
“The mansion of earl Milo,” said Serenity. “Owner of several businesses, a frequent user of our services and more importantly, he owes us a few favors.” Serenity snapped her fingers and one of her butlers quickly approached with a bundle of sheets. The human tossed them onto the table and we were greeted by a series of lists, charts, profiles and sketches of a dark looking individual. The sketch showed that he had a thin face that was mostly covered by a wiry black hair. He had a large black line drawn over his lips, I assumed that it was a scar.
“This, is duke Jonathan Krale,” Continued Serenity. “While we were grilling out little ‘wanderer’ for more information we were able to get a piece of very important information. We found that one of the major leaders of the Fringe is a noble.”
“What makes you think it is this man?” I asked.
“We took information from an outside source,” said Serenity, a thin smile began to creep up her face. “Remember that seraph that was investigating the murders?”
“The one that nearly left us a charred mess?” asked Daniel. “you got the information from him?” Serenity nodded in response.
“He had a list of suspects. Some nobles were actively trying to impede his investigation. We had a few undercover messengers copy his list of suspects and did some investigating of our own. The information came rather quickly and we were able to find out the most likely to be a Fringe leader.”
“What did you find?” I asked.
“The reason why the seraph was faced with such resistance was because there were several of the nobility that were able to sabotage some of the evidence they had. Several hired thugs and assassins were captured and sold out their employer in exchange for freedom. At least that was what they were promised. The Seraph wasn’t able to discover their motives but we were. Krale is quite the active duke, and quite a few nobles owed him some favors. An undercover raven posing as a maid confirmed this information.”
“So why are we looking at earl Milo’s home?” asked Daniel.
“We learned that Krale enjoys social gatherings,” said Serenity. “Especially those that give him the chance to get some more connections. He’s a wretched snake but a good one at that. Anyway, we asked Milo to host a party, one that was big enough to lure Krale. Him without his home field advantage is the opportunity we need.
“So a party to lure a noble,” I said. “Where does Argus and Simon fit into this?”
Serenity leaned on the desk as she was about to explain her plan. “Daniel and I will pose as party guests, since I am a profitable business owner, my presence won’t be so suspicious. You, Argus and Simon will be a bit more complicated. You guys are the entertainment.” I cocked an eyebrow.
“What do you mean by entertainment?” I asked.
“You will pose as a band of famous minstrels,” said Serenity. “We’ll make sure the ravens start making up stories about you so that the nobles, and Krale, will actually fall for it. What you have to do is entertain the audience proficiently enough for them to be pleased. Then you will fit in with the party seamlessly.”
“Wouldn’t it be easier for Anavari to pose as a charr diplomat?” asked Daniel.
“There are currently no charr diplomats in the reach right now and Krale knows it,” said Serenity. “This is the best course of action we could come up with.”
“But Anvari doesn’t play any instruments,” said Daniel. “How will he keep the audience enter—”
“Actually,” I interrupted. “I can play the piano, and a bit of the violin.” Daniel looked at me dumbfounded.
“Since when could you play piano?” asked Daniel. Truth be told, I didn’t know that I could play an instrument until a few seconds ago. Talking about entertaining people had reminded me of one of the regular activities I spent with Mara. She had taught me the basics of playing the piano and after a while she would have me play for her every now and then. She would say, “a knowledgeable charr pushes the mind to its limits, music is one way to do it”. Or something along those lines.
“Well I’ve always known,” I said. “I just never saw the need to bring it up.”
“And here I thought we were friends, big guy,” said Daniel crossing his arm in mock indignation. “I’m hurt, Anavari, deeply hurt.”
“You two can get to couple’s counselling after the mission,” Interjected Serenity. “Right now we have to get everything in order. Anavari, Argus and Simon need to plan a performance good enough to have people think you actually are hired performers. Meanwhile Daniel and I will think of a way to isolate Krale. Remember, this is a capture, not an assassination.”
“Understood,” I said walking over to Argus. “How long do we have?”
“Party is starting in two days,” said Serenity.
“Then we have two days to come up with a plan,” said Daniel as he walked over to Serenity. The two humans quickly began to scan the layout of the mansion, suggesting different means of approaching the situation. This was Daniel’s field of expertise, so I left them to their work. Meanwhile I walked over to a different area of Serenity’s mansion with Argus and Simon.
We spent the next two days planning a performance that involved my skills with a piano, Argus’ skill with a lute and Simon’s… strangely enough Simon’s impossible skill with a harp. It did not take long for us to arrange a few melodies and songs for our future audience.
Once our plans were ready we went to Daniel and Serenity to go through their plan. As soon as we would be done distracting the nobles then we would join them on the second floor, where, if everything went according to plan, Krale would be waiting in one of the rooms. After that we simply restrain him in some way, sadly simple did not mean easy. If the information was correct, then he was a high ranking member of the fringe, he would put much more of a fight than anyone we had encountered before.
The day of the party had finally arrived, after two days of planning and practicing, I admitted that I was still a bit nervous. It all felt so fast, as if that day where the Fringe had first attacked Daniel and I was only yesterday. And now we were all planning to capture one of their officers, or as they would call themselves, a traveler.
It was a long walk to Rurikton, despite it being so close to the Salma district.
“Nervous?” Asked Daniel who walked by my side, as always.
I glanced at my hand, I just realized that I couldn’t stop it from shaking. “I think it is more than a bit of nerves,” I said. Daniel raised his hand next to mine, to show that his was shaking as well.
“Don’t worry, big guy,” He said. “Its alright to be scared. It means we have something fight for, just remember what it is when we’re in the fray.” I stared at my hand as he said those words, I was able to keep my emotions in check after that. Even though I felt an ice cold pit at the bottom of my stomach, even though I was terrified of the very thing that I had an affinity over.
Death will wait however, I needed to repeat that over and over. Repeat it as if it were an absolute. The next battle was now, and the Secros will be victorious.