Yanika, sitting cross legged on the bed, looked up from the alchemical notations she had been studying, when an obviously excited Helix pulled an equally exasperated Zaela into the bedroom. She raised an eyebrow as her goblin friend pulled the other along to the bed before sitting down and motioning for the orc to sit down too. “Now that you’ve finally managed to pull yourself away from dilly dallying in the wide outdoors, Yanika can continue telling her story!” Zaela grunted a bit in annoyance as she removed her boots. “Can’t you see that she’s busy studying?” Yanika smiled and before Helix could say anything, she closed her book and placed it aside. “It’s fine thank you Zaela, I don’t mind taking a break and continuing, it is rather more exciting than this book anyway.” Straightening the pillow behind her and leaning back against it to make herself comfortable, she waited for her two friends to have made themselves comfortable on the bed too before she started telling the rest of the tale.
“So after I woke up I returned to Ace and Spade’s, so we could continue helping Torrok. On the way I bought a small mirror because we would be needing that for using the Mirrorsheen, which turned out to be a bust by the way, but I’ll get to that.” She grinned as she saw her two friends were already glued to her lips. “Torrok told us that he had lost the sword, or rather, he had thrown it onto the garbage belt outside of town. Now there is no way I am going to go digging through the garbage for this thing, so we’ll just have to have faith in this curse and wait for it to show back up at Torrok.” Helix in the meanwhile had gotten up and moved to the other room, being as stealthily as possible, and returned with a bottle of wine and some cups, handing one to each. Yanika took a grateful sip from her cup before continuing. “I used the Mirrorsheen on the mirror but all I saw was this Torrok wandering through a desert. He told us that he comes from a city named Ernog, which is on the far side of the desert to the south. Quite a trip to come here in search of us I would say. So after he had told his story and Majid annoyed him a bit with questions, we talked on what we should do next. Translate the dwarven book? Go looking for the sword, or Har’Hak? In the end we decided to do all three at the same time, as someone has been distributing pamphlets all around time with a huge reward for the sword.” Zaela and Helix nodded in unison, having seen the pamphlets and having made the link to the sword their friend had been talking about.
“Ace, Zebulor and me stayed back to translate the journal, though Ace did most of the work there, and decided to try and teach Zebulor on how to read, because apparently he can’t. We didn’t get too far with it though. Kayne and Spade went to look for additional information concerning Har’Hak and Rowls, the one guy who’s been distributing the pamphlets, while Aitlas and Majin went looking for the sword.” She chuckled softly and leaned back against the pillow as she recalled the stories the two groups had told them about what they had encountered. “So Majid and Aitlas went looking for the sword on the garbage heap. They didn’t find the sword though, as it had probably already been dug up, but they did find a mimic of all things. Apparently it was a heroic fight but they won in the end. They returned to Ace, Zebulor and me to tell us about it, and I concluded that one of the trash collecting guild probably has found it and taken it home. So I went back with the two of them to talk to the guild. No-one there knew anything about a sword, but apparently one of the men who had been doing the digging, Eric, had turned in his resignation. So good chance that he’s the one, and he’s planning on getting the reward. She paused a moment for the cups to be refilled. Zaela laying sprawled out on the huge bed they all three shared, and Helix sitting against the foot end, watching her and listening. Yanika took another sip from the wine, to moisten her throat. “So after getting the address, which is in the Racks, Aitlas, Majid and me went there. We noticed that his hose was being watched by some thugs. While Majid kept an eye on the thugs, Aitlas and me went to the house. We found out it had been broken into and Eric had been killed and the sword stolen! So with little to no clues, I decided to just go and talk to the thugs, because they might have seen something right? One of them ran off to inform his gang, and Majid followed him. The other one was quite friendly and helpful though, even though he couldn’t do much more than confirm what we already knew. Before going back to the rest, I went by the guild to inform them that Eric had been killed and give my condolences.” Yanika looked a bit sad as she recalled the events. She had obviously never met or known this Eric, but being an empathic person, she still had felt the loss and sadness of the guild members. So she had agreed to go to the wake later on, and pay her respect.
“In the meanwhile Spade and Kayne went looking for Har’Hak, and surprisingly enough they managed to get a lead on him by visiting all the bars in the Rack.” Helix laughed and grinned at that, raising his cup before emptying it in one go. “Sounds like the better part of the investigation, compared to the garbage digging.” Yanika and Zaela laughed nodded. Yanika idly stroking her fingers through the orc’s hair as she continued. “So Kayne and Spade went to this old burnt down ruin of a tavern, which supposedly held an entrance to the Black Maze, a series of tunnels underneath the Racks, remnants of the previous incarnations of the slums here. Spade told us they had encountered someone there dressed as a plague doctor, who warned them against going into the maze, as it is very dangerous and the air is toxic. He also confirmed that Har’Hak had been in there, but more than a few weeks ago, and had not returned since. Spade and Kayne then went to get Ace and Zebulor to go and talk to this Rowls, a Halfling fence in the Racks. He didn’t know where Har’Hak or the sword were, but, after they found out that he has a tattoo of a golden owl, just like the bugbear and his minions, he told them to go to the entrance of the Black Maze at sundown. They came back to collect the rest of us and we went there together shortly before sundown.” Yanika stretched a bit and curled her fingers in Zaela’s hair as she readjusted her position on the bed. Talking for all this time had gotten her hungry and thirsty, despite the wine. “Once at the entrance to the Black Maze, the plague doctor approached us and told us that often some dangerous looking guy comes out of the Maze at sundown to take people inside. And they always come back out, so he must be knowing his way around down there. And Loh and behold, shortly after, a tiefling appeared from the Maze. He noticed us and came over, introducing himself as Janus, and telling us he was there to take anyone into the Maze who is there to receive the blessing of Teiar. Apparently the tattoo of the Golden Owl is a sign that you have been blessed by Teiar. Now I had never heard of this name, but Ace told us she had read a story about a fallen angel with that name. Janus told us that Har’Hak had been there a few weeks ago and had received a vision of a sword. Now because we are curious and interested, Spade, Ace, Zebulor and me followed Janus to his sanctum, to see what it was all about. I can assure you that the Black Maze is not a fun place to be, the air is hell to breath and it’s very unstable.” She shuddered at the thought of moving through the labyrinthine tunnels and was glad Ace had been able to clean their clothing with magic afterwards. “Ace, Spade and me accepted the blessing, and while the ritual was not magical or special, the effect certainly was. There was a red glow around Janus and I saw a vision of a mechanical owl putting its wings around me. Though I was informed later that it had been an illusion and that it had actually been a figure of shadow and flame, so probably the fallen angel Ace had talked about. Janus then guided us back out and talked about how Teiar had saved him from a horrible life.” She looked into the concerned faces of her friends and smiled reassuringly at them before showing off the small tattoo of the golden owl she now had on her arm. “Kayne wants us to have it checked out at a temple, but I don’t think it will do any harm. Anyway, the next step was to visit that gang in the part of he Racks where Eric had lived to talk to them. And that went about as horrible as you can imagine. Long story short, Ace and Spade managed to sell our services to Brand, the psychopathic leader of this gang, someone who loves to dress up as a jester and stab his own followers in the chest. He seemed to like me though, which I do find a bit unsettling. I’m still not sure what we will have to gain from this.”
Yanika shuddered a bit at the memory of being in the gang’s hideout and Brand stabbing one of his thugs in the chest for an offhand comment the man had made. She had saved his life after Brand had left, and greatly questioned the wisdom of Ace and Spade for hiring out their services to Brand to find Eric’s killer.