Friday, October 22, 2004


Day 30

Perry came to us, in the morning, which saved me some trouble; he also told us which stables his father worked at, though he'd been sent out to a farm today to help sort out the purchase of some new stock. We handed over the money that Coker had given us, and he seemed happy enough.

What else today? Well, I tracked down Torner, who was on duty, to see if there had been any mage-examination of the corpse, but apparently nobody was too bothered about the death of a known petty thief, so there hadn't been any investigation at all. Ashil knew all about it, of course, but couldn't tell me anything I didn't know. I told him that I was worried that there was some sort of magic involved, and that the dagger could be the focus for something nasty; I think he took the idea seriously, he said he'd do some checking of his own, but that doesn't really get us anywhere at the moment.

Delinda knows a bit about magic, of course, so that gave Memree and me an excuse to go on over to her shop - I hope people realise that she's an old friend, otherwise the number of visits Memree and I make there would really get tongues wagging! I couldn't take her anything to run a detector-wand over, so there wasn't much that could actually be done at this stage, but if I do get hold of that dagger, or even just its blasted presentation case, I will be sure to take it to her.

"It sounds as if it could be something bad", Del said, when I'd told her just about everything. "I don't like the extra decomposition speed of the body, and I especially don't like the way some knife, very probably that dagger, had carved its way through the ribcage." She drummed her fingers on her worktable, where she'd been adding an extra hole to a rather complicated, ornate leather belt. "Don't get that kid Ruby too involved in it, she's not old enough to be able to defend herself the way you can, remember!"

So who gives a special "presentation dagger" like that, to whom?" I scratched my head, though that never ever gives me any sudden inspiration. "I didn't like Jasper, but I don't think he was an evil, other-dimensional demon in disguise."

Delinda smiled. "They're busy beasts, I imagine - so some jobs they like to delegate to mere mortals."

Now that was a cheery thought...or not!

Memree stayed with Del, and I headed off to go and drink in a number of taverns, and generally keep my ears alert for anything that could be involved with the dagger. Redwall isn't really that big a place, but there are traders and farmers coming and going all the time, the castle, the main market and a farm market, and always a few things going on. A mercenary band was recruiting, though from the glimpse I had of the people handling the sign-up, it looked only a step or two above a roaming bandit gang - I hope they keep on roaming! There'd been a sale of cattle in the morning, so there were some farmers around with a lot of money, and a few guards from the market keeping an eye on them, as having sellers mugged or murdered is bad for the repeat business side. A few wagons of trade goods, mainly medium-grade fabrics, had come in, not really a proper caravan, just an extended family really, and they were celebrating at the inn they always used. A pale and worried young woman was searching for her husband - ten times out of ten the missing man will turn up the following morning with a lot of explaining to do, but I got a description from her, and details of where she could be reached. Someone had completed his apprenticeship to a blacksmith, and was being got horribly drunk by his fellow workers, cheerfully oblivious to whatever humiliations were being planned for him later. The manager of one of the larger grain warehouses was furiously searching for one of his loaders, who he (colourfully) swore had stolen two bags of wheat from the loading bay. Prostitutes were picking up their customers, drinkers were peeing in the back yards - and after a dozen different types of beer, I knew how they felt, so a return home seemed the best idea.

So, no progress to report today, and probably none tomorrow either, but we will see what a new day brings. Hopefully no more flies buzzing round corpses, for a while.

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