Yanika lounged back into her seat as Helix fixed her hair in anticipation of the upcoming date she had with Emine Ada. She left these things to Helix as he was the better judge of how to look on a respectable date, as opposed to Zaela who spent most of her time out in the wild. “So we decided to stay overnight at the building site to see if we could catch anyone who has something to do with the disappearances, and oh did it turn out to be an interesting night!”. She grinned at the thought of what had all happened during that night, even though most of it had been boring and spent sleeping. “We took the chance to look around the place undisturbed, including to look at Estar’s lab. It looks like he’s again working on the Brightburn engine. We also found a picture of an elven woman in one of his books, but no idea who she is. Thinking back on all we’ve known since, maybe she is Maerissa’s mom?” Yanika pondered this revelation for a moment, putting her finger to her lips. “I will have to talk with Spade about this in the morning. Maybe Estar’s interest in Maerissa isn’t romantic, maybe she is his daughter! And she doesn’t know that he’s just trying to take care of her.”. She sat up as the idea formed in her mind, much to Helix’ discontent as he was still working on getting her hair in order. “Will you please sit still before you pull out your hair accidently?”. Yanika looked at Helix apologetically and sat back down.
“So besides checking out the lab, we decided on staying in the main hall and staying up in shifts. During Ace and Zebulor’s shift, someone tried to enter the building, and they woke up the rest of us. Spade and me told the rest to hide while we went to ambush whomever it was. But someone obviously tripped over some box, alerting the one trying to enter to our presence and he, or she, bolted. And they got away from us so quickly that we decided to go and get the rest before trying to follow the tracks. Majid managed to find and follow the tracks, which were of small footprint, and high quality elven boots, and they led back to the current guildhall, so we suspect it to be Maerissa. As we can’t just enter the guildhall, we went back to the building site, and when arriving there, noticed that someone was inside. Spade and me wanted to sneak back inside to have a look, but of course almost everyone wanted to join, and we all know how stealthy some people are.”. She rolled her eyes at the memory of most of their combined attempts at sneaking somewhere, it always seemed to go wrong because someone always tripped over something. “We found Estar inside, who was surprised to see us there instead of someone else, and he told us that was there to work, but he was trying to hide a bouquet of flowers behind his back. Spade pressured him into talking more about what he was doing there and he admitted to be there to see Maerissa. He also admitted to being the one to have taken the wine and such from the pantry, but he said he had nothing to do with Karstak.”.
As Helix finished with her hair, Yanika got up and walked to her closet to pick out an outfit she could wear for the date. “After letting Estar be, we discussed whether or not we should tell the guildmaster about his thing with Maerissa, as she is underaged after all. In the end we compromised that we would talk to Maerissa instead, even though we had promised to Estar not to do so. After Ace and Kayne had a fight about whether it was a good idea to hit Estar or not, Ace, Majid and me went to speak with Maerissa. She confirmed that she had hired Karstak to scare us off, and said that Estar and her never did anything except dance and drink and eat. Majid and Ace wanted to convince her to talk to her dad, but I said she could do what she wanted, so she decided to just stop seeing Estar instead of telling her dad.”. She fished some dress from her closet but put it away immediately at Helix’ disapproving stare. She half looked at him as she went through the rest of her closet, finally setting on a nice set of breeches and white blouse with a red jacket.
“So after the talk with Maerissa, we went to the docks to see if we could find out what had happened to the crew of The Gearhead, and oh my lord did that turn out to be gruesome! We found the entire crew murdered, and it had happened weeks ago, and seemed to have been done by a single person too! Some had been killed in their sleep and others in a fight. The cargo, all specialized artificer equipment, had been stolen and taken off the ship by a teleportation circle.” She gave her friends a disgusted look as she thought back at the sight of the weeklong dead bodies. It was all she could do not to empty her stomach again. “While Aitlas and Kayne went to inform the skyrifles of the murders, the rest of us pondered on how we could best locate the stolen goods. Maybe some of the items are rare enough to be found by magic. Though I suggested the first step should be that Ace and Spade used their underworld contacts to check the black market. There is this goblin, Fermon Ka, who runs a shop called The Right Ingredients, where you can buy anything, also illegal stuff.”. Zaela looked a bit confused at this, but Helix nodded. As a fellow goblin and artificer, he knew all about Fermon Ka and his dealings. “Before we went there, we went to talk to the guildmaster to see if he could shed some more light on the equipment that had been stolen, and to inform him of the fate of the crew. He could point out some of the more rare devices, and informed us that a few people knew that they would be arriving, as it wasn’t really a secret. He also showed us the guild’s teleportation circle, which hasn’t been used in months.”.
Yanika slipped on her best boots and straightened her blouse as she looked at her reflection in the small mirror they had, smiling at the sight. She did look good didn’t she? Helix had done an amazing job with her hair. She just hoped that Emine would feel the same. She turned to her friends and posed a bit with a huge grin on her face. Both of them nodded in approval at her looks.
“On with the story though. After talking to the guildmaster, we went to have Brom’s funeral. And while holding the ceremony, we noticed some weird guy walking along one of the paths. Dressed all in black, with a tophat and a cane, walking with a limp. Your typical vampire from the stories. Spade followed him and found out he went to pray at a grave in a spot of the graveyard that isn’t in use yet. It was a lone gravestone with a rose carved into it, and he left a black rose there. Morris, the undertaker, knew nothing of the gravestone, but he could confirm no-one is actually buried there, it’s just a gravestone. After this new intriguing encounter, we decided to split up. Aitlas, Kayne and me are going to the Hillside Rise town hall, while the rest is going to the Right Ingredient.” Yanika smiled and picked up her cup of wine to take a sip. She sure could use it to calm her nerves a bit for the coming evening. “I wanted to find out more about the man in black, and thought that Hillside Rise was the best place to go looking. I got to talk to Elrisa, the elderly major of Hillside rise, and Grom Rellik, the orc captain of the guards. Elrisa promised to check the records for a mention of a noble house with a rose, and Grom told us that he had heard reports of a man in black in one of the streets of HillSide Rise, watching some of the noble houses, a few weeks ago. He also told us there is an abandoned house in that street, which has been abandoned for at least twenty years, and which has a rosebush of black roses in the backyard. Not a coincidence I would say!” She nodded excitedly at her friends and grinned. “We got permission to check out the building too. So after we got all that information I sent Kayne and Aitlas back to the rest while I went to buy some lovely bouquet of flowers for Emine Ada, and sent it to her with a note inviting her on the date. After that I joined the rest at the guildhall.”.