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Warhammer: Shadows of Empire - Sword in a City of Daggers

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Nayobee was late getting back to the tower. It was shut up for the night and she had to knock repeatedly before a girl she did not recongize holding a lantern opened the door. Reluctantly the girl let her in (the trees weren't growling after all).

"Stay here please, Missus Elf," the girl said and curtsied. She ran off. About two minutes later, she could be seen by lantern light returning with one of the women she had seen earlier in the day. This woman was in a nightgown.

"Lady Nayobee," the woman said. She had certainly was on the edge of sleep when forced to come here.

Hetta. Her name was Hetta. Nayobee nodded.

There was a long moment of silence with the girl's eyes flickeing between the two women of power.

"Leave us, Bertie."

The woman Bertie left and made her way upstairs, in the dark, hand against the stairwell wall.

Hetta chewed her lower lip then spoke.

"What helps Magister Mikhail helps the Jade Tower. I am concerned with the welfare of both the Magister, who is a decent man, and the Tower, which is my home. What bothers you, bothers the Magister, which means he is not in the best frame to pursue his agenda here."

"He cares about you. You are his boon companion. Let me help you in his stead. Tell me what bothers you and I will do my best to resolve your situation adequately."

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Her cold deadly blue eyes stared with a burning intensity at Hetta and slowly her glare softened. This woman was offering help and she had no right to be hostile.

“I appreciate your offer, Hetta. I need to find a Bounty Hunter named Diarmuir. I’m acquainted with him and it is urgent that I meet with him swiftly. I don’t know the ways of this city but maybe you know someone who could do me this favour. I’m willing to pay for this deed.”

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"There is no need to pay us, Lady Nayobee. Some things transcend mere coin - like allies. Let me think on this."

He paces a few steps to the left then back to the right.

"I take it this person does not operate in the top strata of society?"

Nayobee gave the slightest of nods.

"I think I know of a way we might be able to help, or more accurately, I can gain you the services of those who are loyal to the Jade Tower and your master, and can help. Follow me, please."

Hetta led Nayobee up to fights of stairs. She came to a cluttered, book filled room with many door leading ... somewhere.

"Wait right here, please," Hetta requested then she took the lantern off to one of the rooms. Nayobee heard Hetta roust someone from his sleep and she heard Hetta whisper some words t the person. She came back out and was promptly followed by a much younger man, his face still smooth and unknown to the razor.

Hetta went to another room two doors down and repeated the procedure. This time the boy that followed her was older with the first signs of a beard. Hetta led both of them to Nayobee. She stood aside and introduced the two boys. Nayobee was skeptical.

"These are Thaddeus Mueller," indicating the older one," and Brandt Michelson. Thaddeus' family is familiar with all aspects of the law in this city and he can help financially. Brandt grew up in the Tallows - our Poor Quarter - and can help you find who you need to find through his ... contacts."

"Boys, you are to do whatever Lady Nayobee commands. You have the support of the tower. She is the Master's ally and should be treated with the utmost respect. Do you understand?"

Both boys nodded. Nayobee could see that the older one had that look - that look men gave her when they wanted something beyond someone else's death. The younger one was in awe. She may have been the first elf he had ever seen (though he had seen her earlier today).

The next morning, Nayobee came down the moment the sun touched her window, having given the humans more than enough time to prepare themselves. They weren't ready of course. They were both still stuffing their faces at breakfast, though they did both have leahter satchels with them as well. They also had cloaked hoods at the ready. It was going to rain.

"Nayobee," said the older boy, some crumbs on his smile.

"Lady Nayobee," said the younger one, eyes lowered.

{more to come}

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It was raining lightly by the time reached the Court of Edicts. Thaddeus had a plan to work on the Ioriona case while Brandt handled the 'Finding Diarmuir' side of the equation. Nayobee travelled along, cloaked and scowling. These humans (well, not so much these humans, but the humans population of the city) were smell, stinky, and were constantly bumping into her. She kept on hand on her sword and another on her sword at all times. The boys treated this as normal and seemed more than put off by Nayobee's gim demeanor.

Thaddeus' plan was to use his family litagators to gain a pass into the prisons. From there they could bribe the guards and make sure that Ioriona was well treated - and they could get her possessions. Thaddeus deduced that the woman might well soon vacate the Hollows (the central prison) and might not want to lose all she owned. At the very least, Nayobee knew she would be needed her bow.

Brandt's strategy was more ... bizarre. He wanted to hire a mob of twenty children to hunt down the might Diarmuir. Brandt was convinced this would work while Nayobee was skeptical in the extreme. After some fierce negotiations, Brandt worked his former diminuative partners down to four pennies a day, a piece, for three days work. Two hundred and forty pennies seeme like a lot until Nayobee and Thaddeus did the math and realize it was only one gold crown.

With the Prison Pass in hand, and Brandt's spies spreading like a net over the city, the three proceeded to thhe Hallows. Nayobee acted arrogant because she was, Thaddeus acted that way because it was his station and he had gold, while Brandt acted as nervous as the lone elf at a Orkish Family Reunion. The goalers leared at Nayobee but eyed her well cared for weaponry thoughtfully. The met with Warden Leopold Hadschieff.

"Fifty Karls," Leopold said without preamble. Two hulking jailers stood close by, "and you may have her friend."

Thaddeus paled.

"Perhaps you would like to see her?" the Warden suggested smugly.

"Perhaps," Thaddeus followed that line of reasoning.

"Bring her in," he said to one of the jailers, who knocked on the door. Two more smelly, gap-toothed humans showed up dragging Ioroina between them. She looked beaten and her clothes were ripped. There were bruies all over her body and she had to be drug along. The guards dumped her on floor and had a good laugh about it. when Ioriona looked up though, she found defiance still in her eyes.

Had she not shown that telling defiance, Nayobee would have immediately killed every human in that room. Well, she would let the two apprentices run for their lives. The rest would have to die.

<"Have they violated you?"> Nayobee asked.

"None of that kind of talk, you two. Only Reikspiel in here!" the Warden thundered. Ioriona shook her head in response anyway.

Under the table, Nayobee noted several small darts in Thaddeus' hand. Having seen Mikhail in action, she knew what those were for.

Thaddeus stood up.

"What you suggest is currently beyond our means, but I will endeavor to raise the funds."

"The price may well go up, young Master Meuller."

Thaddues nodded and placed a very, very light hand on her shoulder.

"May I suggest we buy her a nicer cell, some comforts, and no hard duty ... because he's sick. Yes, because she's taken ill."

"Illness, hmmm ..." Leopold said contemplating. "I can see her weakened condition."

"May I suggest Five Karls for a fine room."

The warden nodded.

"One Karl for some physical care."

Another nod,

"And one Karl to keep her on light duty."

Thaddeus handed the money over.

"For a week," the warden agreed, scooping up the gold. "It has been a pleaure seeing someone so young taking an interest in the penal system."

Warden Leopold stood up. The Interview was over and it was time for them to leave. The jailers who had drug Ioraoni in took her under each arm and lifted her back up.

"Take her to A level, cell 13," the warden ordered.

"Thirteen is occupied, sir," a guardian jailer corrected.

"Very well, make it 12."

They drug Ioraoni away and the warden followed them out. The three hunters (wells one hunter and two aides) looked at one another. The two boys were still worried she would try something.

"Well, with this pass, we should be able come and see her when we need to. We are also making sure nothing bad will happen to her while we figure out a way to raise the fifty or so Karls we need to free her."

"We can go see the second prisoner, before they hang him."

Thaddeus didn't seem to like this idea. Prisoners on 'Death Row' were another breed.

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They dying man had not talked and the jailers had not let Nayobee get her hands on him. The man was going through a Sigmarite rebirth and was locked up in his own tortured mind in prayer. It was a hopeless endeavor.

Two days later (and no sign of Diarmuir), the tree went to the Murderers execuation. He was to be hung from the Gallow's tree. They would have to hold him up with the noose around his neck as they pronounced his sentance. Then they would pull him up and hold up the rope while he strangled to death. Before he was pulled up, he looked at Nayobee with tears in his eyes. He shouted a word just once.


And then they hung him. The three watched as he flopped there like a fish, unable to kick his legs like most hung men. Nayobee left disgusted. A death by a thousand couts would have been more deseving to such scum.


It had been countless days since her blades or bow had tasted blood, so it was with some orgasmic relief to be stabbing this man now. He screamed, the knife driven painfully into his hand - then twisted. He reached for his own knife, but she caught the grip and twised is wrist until the knife popped up.

"I don't know were da man with da copper and frost eyes is," he blubbered. "I's only know dat he must have pulled that kidnapping job dat eveybody talking about."

She twisted the knife again and the man screamed. She could feel her two companions pressing their backs against her own as they kept a wary eye on the crowd. She was in a crowded bar full of drunkards and thieves. Had they been a braver, or more loyal, lot they could have rushed the three. Perhaps Nayobee couldn't have killed them all.

"I don't care about he job, I need to find the man! Now!" She had already missed too many days. She had a name, all she needed was the Elf.

"I don't know!" he was sobbing now. "I don't know. I don't even know who he was worken for."

"You had better find out then," she said in a whisper after a lng, dark moment. "You had better find out and come tell me, or I'll strangle you in your own guts and leave you for the ants to feast."

The already pale man paled further until he looked like a corpse. He nodded that he understood. Nayobee dropped his knife and withrew her knife from his and. She wiped it on his sleeve. Nayobee turned and slowly scanned the room. People quickly found other things to look at, like the bottom of their glasses. No one would make eye contact. The Elf Hunteress sauntered out of the room, her companions in tow.


Two more days and may trips to the Tallows and even the Ratholds later, an urchin came running up. He had spotted the man with the Two Strange Eyes and a boy companion heading into the Law Quarter. The urchin had lost them near the Obelisk of Laws, but he was sure they were heading to the Manor District. The TSE's seemed drunk.

More searching amongst the urchin narrowed the focus to down to the Swartzhold-Northgate area. It was a large district but now they had a venue they could search through. What gave Nayobee real hope was that when the urchin described the boy, he gave great detail to his wide-brimmed hat that shielded the face from easy gaze - Diarmuir's hat.

The next day the urchins found out something else, both useful and worrisome in the same breath. Someone was looking for Two-Strange-Eyes as well as the urchins. The looked to be some toughs form one fo the gangs from the Tallows.

Just as they were stalking their quarry, Nayobee began stalking them. The two boys were a drag on her abilities, but she knew if she had trouble with the authorities, she might have a need for them.

She staked them to a place called the Three Pears Inn. As the waited outside an urchin came around the corner of the Inn.

"I found them! I found them!" he chirped in a low voice. "The boy is inside, front room overlooking the street. He's been getting like half a dozen warm baths a day. The other man he hasn't gotten a good look at as he is eitehr looking out the window or sleeping when he comes in. He thinks they are honeymooners! The boy is really a girl!"

He paused for moment and looked at Thaddeus.

"Can I have my gold piece please!"

"In a minute boy," Thaddeus said holding up his hands, "Let's make sure this is ..."

A scream came from inside. What was Nayobee going to do?

{Continued over in Hunter's City}

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