Three months later, on the 1st of Summer, the constables were once again assembled into a task force for a matter of international importance: a Risuri citizen had been killed at the Danoran Consulate and Delft wanted them to investigate.
Since we last left them, Ironpeak had done some investigating of the Ragman murders in Parity Lake. She discovered that the victims’ wounds were necrotic in nature and were re-arranging themselves over time to the same pattern, again and again. She began to suspect that the Ragman was reliving the same traumatic event over and over.
Ironpeak and Zara had taken a class together at The Battalion on hunting, tracking, and neutralizing Fey beasts. Zara was already familiar with one of the Fey beasts: the Fey Hummingbird, a carnivorous variety that travels in packs and drinks blood. Malkie – in her off time – did some promotions for a new opera at Navras Opera House, in addition to publishing a scandalous rag about Guy Goodson’s upcoming nuptials. Mort and James did some research into the rash of fires in Parity Lake, discovering clear signs of arson, and also suspected insurance fraud. Mort was disappointed that the leads there did not see to point towards his quarry, Gale Soliogn.
On the morning of the 1st of Summer, Mort was enjoying some free breakfast at the Danoran Consulate when he heard gunshots from upstairs and a commotion outside the building. He discovered that the young lady who had brought the breakfast for the staff had been caught stealing on the 4th floor and had been shot during an attempt to escape. Since she attempted to escape by literally flying out of a window (arousing suspicion of Gale’s involvment), and since she fell and landed atop the fence at the edge of the property (putting half of her in Risuri territory), he called in the RHC.
Upon arrival, the squad talked to Julian Lebrix, the Chief of Security for the Danoran Consulate. He explained that he had caught the young woman stealing valuables and had shot her to prevent her escape. He produced a jewel-encrusted egg form his pocket, indicating that he had recovered it from her. They thanked Lebrix and headed off to check out the 4th-floor crime scene. Mort convinced Lebrix to leave him in charge of escorting the Constables.
While the others headed into the Consulate, Malkie worked the crowd, searching for eyewitness accounts. What she found out was that most people’s version of events did not match up with LeBrix’s story: witnesses reported that the woman flew out the window and fell onto the fence before being shot. The shooter was reportedly cloaked in shadow, but his chrome pistol could be seen clearly. She was shot twice after handing a bundle of papers to a man with a black goatee who was dressed in a foreign style. No one was really sure what country he seemed to be from, however. The woman whispered to the foreigner, and then he took he necklace and ran off down a nearby alley. Witnesses also reported seeing a mysterious man shouting at Lebrix and duNadria as the woman as being pulled off the fence. Even though the man was the loudest and most agitated, none could produce a description of him.
Malkie investigated the alleyway, discovering signs of a fight. Two men dueled: one escaped from the far end of the alley, while the other was knocked down before returning in the direction of the consulate. Malkie found strangely-congealed blood that seemed to show signs of electrical magic, and also a deed for a Danoran barge.
Meanwhile, the other constables were checking out the fourth floor of the Consulate. They quickly discovered that Consular duNadria’s office door lock had been picked and a rug had been thrown down to cover a blood stain. The blood stain on the floor and wall indicated a slashing wound, which had not been mentioned by the consulate staff. Mort also revealed to the constables that he did not believe Lebrix’s story. Julian Lebrix was a by-the-book, ask questions first, shoot much later kind of guy, and Mort did not think that he would shoot someone for picking up a piece of jewelry, no matter how valuable.
The constables met up with Malkie and headed downstairs to do an examination of the body. They found a bailment letter from the Parity Lake Police, identifying her as Nilasa Hume, a 29-year-old half-elf. A physical examination showed two gunshot wounds, in the back of her left leg and left shoulder, a necrotic injury of some kind to the top of her head, and several parallel slashes across her face which had been posthumously healed to make the wound almost completely disappear. Signs of the injury were only visible under close inspection. James also did an arcane reading and discovered signs of both invisibility and flight magic having been used on or by Nilasa.
The constables sent Nilasa away to have their Spirit Medium, Hugh Pearsall, interview her. Then they had an interview with Consular duNadria, who was almost entirely unhelpful, except that he mentioned meeting that morning in the basement with a man named Cillian Creed, who duNadria described as the attaché of the Mayor of the Nettles.
The constables interviewed a security guard at the consulate who was Nilasa’s boyfriend. His name was Braden Sarkin and he told the constables that Nilasa worked for Heward Sechim at his alkahest facroty and also that she often dropped by to deliver treats to the consulate staff. She would get these treats at the Thinking Man Tavern in Bosum Strand, a place she had once taken Braden, but it wasn’t his kind of place. He mentioned that she knew the place well and was well-liked by everyone. Malkie detected that the guard seemed to be high, but Braden did not seem to be aware of it.
The constables then left the consulate, in search of two staff members who had gone off-site for lunch: receptionist Tia and security chief Lebrix. On their way off the property, they were stopped by a Flint PD officer who had a carriage driver with him. The carriage driver told his tale of having picked up a surgeon with a foreign accent and bloody hands, who needed a ride to his hostel, The House of Blue Birds, for supplies. At the hostel, the man asked the carriage driver to wait, but the surgeon never returned. After half an hour, the driver returned to where he picked up the surgeon, hoping to find someone who knew him. Upon seeing the crime scene, the driver stopped a police officer to tell his story.
Mort paid the carriage driver two gold for his trouble, then hired him to take the team to The House of Blue Birds to follow up on the lead. Once there, Zara and Ironpeak (“The Brute Squad”) canvassed the outside of the building while Mort, Malkie, and James (“The Goon Squad”) headed inside. Cazara found some blood drops by the entrance that seemed to match up with the carriage driver’s story, but no other evidence. Inside, Malkie and Mort talked with the proprietor of the hostel. She informed the detectives that a police detective named Roger Porter had already been by in search of the surgeon, a Wolfgang von Recklinghausen. James searched Dr. von Recklinghausen’s room, turning up nothing, but Malkie had a look at the doctor’s references, finding a Dr. Barnaby Camp and a Professor Lynn Kindleton of Pardwight University. The constables sent a courier to RHC headquartes with a message to send out three subpoenas: they wanted Dr. Camp, Professor Kindleton, and Heward Sechim to come in for questioning on the following day.
The contables then returned to the consulate to find Tia and Lebrix. Tia told the constables that she said she would look into finding which papers Nilasa had stolen, while also telling them that she had seen Nilasa and Dr. von Recklinghausen talking in the lobby that morning. Tia recognized the doctor because he’d been visiting the consulate on a regular basis, trying to get his travel visa approved. While not from Danor, Wolfgang is a citizen of Arrovia, a small country on the border of Danor whose citizens use Danoran consulates for international travel. Malkie showed Tia the barge deed she had found and asked Tia if she knew what types of files it might be found with. She mentioned a couple of options, but the constables seemed most interested in a recent review of the security of Danoran-owned factories in Parity Lake, conducted by Julian Lebrix.
Lebrix seemed evasive, however. Zara inferred that the security chief might be more talkative in private, so she invited him to RHC headquarters for an interview later that evening. He accepted and the constables left the consulate for the day.
On the way back to RHC headquarters, they decided to stop by the Thinking Man Tavern in Bosum Strand. Along the way, they started to hear the mysterious whispers of Hugh Pearsall, carried on the wind:
“I only have twenty‐five words; moreover, (which is one word and therefore more efficient), I can only send one message every five minutes; you should . . . “
Five minutes passed, and Hugh’s whispered voice returned.
“ . . . your name, dead girl. It is . . . what? Nilasa . . . Where do you—did you—live? Magazine Street? Number forty‐seven . . . oh, and your last name is . . . what . . . ?”
Five more minutes . . .
“. . . Sechim’s? OK then. You were stabbed and shot? Oh my . . . and you flew, did you? Forty feet: that is something, even for a wizard. Now . . .”
and another five . . .
“ . . . Seedism? Ah, yes, that explains a lot then, especially when we consider the Dreaming. Of, course, it got you in a lot of trouble, didn’t . . .”
and another . . .
“ . . . well, Gale might be found to be attractive to some, I suppose, but tell us more about infiltrating the Danoran consulate, especially that bit about . . .”
Clearly Hugh had forgotten that he was sending whispered messages during the séance . . .
“ . . . Sarkin? Well, that must have been easy, and especially with fey pepper, but tell us more about ‘Wolfgang’ of Arrovia, his black goatee, his rapier . . .”
“ . . . so what happened to Lebrix’s security review, after you stole it? You gave it to Wolfgang after the shadow man tore you, to take . . .”
“. . . do you think Wolfgang will find Nevard in the Cloudwood? What? The Bleak Gate . . . a catastrophic holocaust of lost souls?”
The constables took notes as quickly as possible, noting that Nilasa was now connected to Seedism and Gale, and that Nilasa had indeed stolen “Lebrix’s security review.” After a stop at the Thinking Man, they would have better questions to ask Lebrix at headquarters.
An earthquake struck as the constables entered the Thinking Man Tavern. Of late, the RHC headquarters have shook from time to time, but most people chalked it up to the sub-rail construction in the Central District. The Thinking Man was in Bosum Strand, however, so the earthquake could not be attributed to construction. Since the centuries-old history of Flint has no record of any earthquakes, this event caused quite a stir amongst the crowd, but the novelty passed and people got back into their beers. James left at this time to check on the status of the bar he co-owned with a friend of his.
Malkie held court at the Thinking Man, catching up with friends and acquaintances throughout the bar. She chatted with proprietor Tad Hilly and senior waitress Barb about Nilasa, never letting on that she had died. Malkie learned that Nilasa usually hung with a group of musicians known as “the Band,” led by Halfling ocarina player Jered Lawman. Malkie was familiar with them. Recently, however, Barb had seen Nilasa talking with Hennet Rinus of “the Professors,” a group of middle-aged professional students who met at the tavern on a weekly basis, but drank there together almost every other night of the week as well.
Zara and Ironpeak went up to visit Rinus in the “riot room” at the top of the building, where the Professors often loitered. The riot room was furnished with plush couches and coffee tables, and offered wide windows from which to look out upon the city. Zara approached Hennet Rinus, identified herself as an RHC constable, and started to ask him about Nilasa. Hennet engaged both Zara and Ironpeak in a debate over whether any people in a free society should hold authority over other people in a free society. Cazara and Stoatra gave as good as they got, and after a good hour of philosophical exchanges, Hennet was more than happy to answer their questions. He told them that Nilasa had recently engaged him to write a letter in the fancy Crisillyiri style. The letter was in regards to the delivery of a deliberately-vague “cargo” from Crisillyir to Flint. The letter mentioned meeting a ship late at night, so it was likely an illicit cargo. Lastly, Hennet remembered that the letter was addressed to a Monsigneur Morgan Cippiano. Hennet was unfamiliar with that name, but the RHC members recognized him as a slippery crime boss who heads the Flint branch of “The Family.”
Meanwhile, downstairs, Malkie chatted up Jered Lawman, getting more information about Nilasa. Fortunately for Malkie, Jered had gotten an early start on the evening and was very free with information, openly discussing how Nilasa had gotten the Band in touch with the Cloudwood Brigands to plan a raid on the 5th of Summer, where they would dress as Eladrin warriors, board som ships, and throw casks of firedust into Parity Lake. Lawman speculated that the pollution levels in Parity Lake could cause the entire lake to ignite.
After those interviews, seemingly tying Nilasa to every criminal organization in Flint, the constables headed back to headquarters, where Delft had helpfully pulled Nilasa’s criminal file from the Parity Lake PD. In that, her juvenile record was mentioned, including “petty thefts and confidence capers.” She had recently been arrested in a raid at a house where two wanted criminals were taken into custody. She was charged with Supporting Criminal Activities and was scheduled for a hearing at the end of the week. The two criminals, Ford Soghum and Travis Starter, were being held in the Goodson Estuarial Reformatory, a fancy name for a privately-owned prison made of a dozen lashed-together ships floating in Flint Bay.
Also, while at headquarters, Zara asked someone at the nearby Flint PD HQ to see if they had a Roger Porter on payroll, since none of the group had heard of him. The Flint PD later responded that they did not, in fact, know of a Roger Porter.
Buried under a pile of information and leads already, the constables still had to interview Lebrix before they could call it a night. They secured a conference room. Lebrix seemed nervous, so Ironpeak stood guard outside and they drew the shades. Mort broke the ice by saying, “So, we know you’re lying.” Lebrix was all too happy to get the true story out. He said that he had not shot the woman. Someone else had done the deed. Further, he said that a mysterious man had taken charge of the situation and told Lebrix to claim that he was the shooter. The mysterious man pursued von Recklinghausen, then returned and ordered duNadria to have the consulate healer remove the slashing wounds from Nilasa’s face. Lebrix is adamant that the man had the appropriate authority to make those demands, and so he went along with it, but as time went on, he could not remember who the man was or why he was so important. Then he started having regrets about the cover up, and Lebrix did not want his reputation to suffer, so he had hoped the RHC would take him in for questioning away from the consulate.
The constables then asked about the security review that Lebrix had done on Danoran-owned factories in Parity Lake. He explained that, as part of his duties, he reviewed the business practices of those factories to make sure there were no threats to Danoran interests. Part of that review is a financial overview. This past month, he made the realization that a certain pattern of “missing” boxes from Danoran factories were adding up to a potentially large operation. The bozes would be loaded in Parity Lake onto Danoran-owned canal barges, to traverse the Stanfield Canal for delivery to Bosum Strand, where they would go onto seafaring vessels. Somewhere between being loaded at the factory and unloaded in the Strand, specific boxes would “disappear.” Analyzing the pattern of missing boxes led Lebrix to believe that a large construction project was underway with the missing goods: possibly a warship.
Lebrix did an inspection of the affected factories, where he made some odd findings: each of the factories from which goods were missing had a strange substance in them. He found several flasks of a strange oil-like substance with motes of light embedded within. He confiscated one of these flasks, and kept it in his office, intending to have it analyzed, but he never got around to it. Today, he noticed the flask had gone missing.
The constables thanked Lebrix for his information and sent him on his way. To close out the day, they checked their inboxes and found that while Dr. Camp and Mr. Sechim were happy to come in the next day, Professor Kindleton claimed that a) she had already spoken to the police, and b) she was very busy tomorrow, but if the constables really needed to talk to her, she could be available the evening after. Remembering the Detective Porter who had beaten them to the House of Blue Birds, and who wasn’t on the Police Department books, the constables were suspicious of Professor Kindleton’s police interview.
However, any further investigations were going to have to wait for another day…