Curio Court Resources
All was quiet just behind the Grey Lady, where the lane dips and fetid water pools, even in dry weather.
Scard watched from the causeway where the sewer stench made him gag, sling in hand. A few moments later Javis Ghan stepped out of the shadows, some alley girl at his shoulder. From across the way, two shapes stepped from the darkened doorway, a glimmer of steel in hand. Scard tensed. Javis Ghan pulled back his threadworn cloak and motioned the newcomers forward. Muted words, argument or simple niceties Scard could not tell.
The Deal at night
Going to plan, no problems, simple business, money for old rope. Or more accurately, money for fake jewels. Paste, cut glass, silvered tin, cheap trinkets bought in Curio just a few hours before. These Thanat sailors, never ending source of good coin! Give 'em pretty and they are happy. Why waste the good stuff on sailors anyway? Most likely the first grog house will see the stuff gambled away, or lost, or stolen. Deal done, both parties melted back into the shadows that had kept them hidden. Scard put his sling away, and made his way back to the Grey Lady, for a quick drink and maybe one of Adbul Ibn Aban's sweetmeats.
Over at the trinket stall, words were being exchanged. Loud ones, harsh ones, words none too polite especially in Curio. Scard caught a few as they echoed about the confines of the court:
'Tough luck, should be more careful with yer jewels'
'I didn't loose them, they were stolen!, and you bought them'
'and your point is? I bought them, yeah, worth a couple of copper at best, them bein' paste an all'
'Paste? Paste? You stupid, STUPID IDIOT! they were not paste, they were worth a kings ransom, now either you tell me who you sold them too, or Ill feed you to the rats, bit by stupid bit'
Scard didn't stop to hear the rest. Where was Javis Ghan? and more importantly, where was that sailor and his mate? there was serious repatriation to see to, and quick, before the tide turned.
The Adventure unfolds
Now, the Grey Lady is home to a few folk with keen ears, and Curio is always a good place to chance upon a rumor that could make a man rich. So this little outburst has set a few minds ticking, and already the coin is loosening tongues...
'Yes sir, saw 'im sell it on, I did, to a young looking lass, can't be more 'an fifteen, went out yonder gate,'
'No, he didn't seem to haggle much mate, took a few more coppers than 'e paid I 'spect, quick sale like'
'The ponce? he's from Dal Haven, rich most like, and stupid with it. Fancy walking yer Lady round in Solis wi' real jewels!
'He's bin shouting it all up 'n' down the lanes, besides 'imself 'e is governor, distraught and damn near jumpin' on 'is own sword if you ask me! Sat over in the Grey Lady 'e is now look, all red faced and curses. Bit much just fer loosin' a few baubles if yer asks me!'
So as you can tell, from the gossip alone, the Dal Havener has lost his dignity, his Ladys best finery and his temper too! And how many of Curios folk want a piece of the action? Well, damn near all of them!
Apart from Scard and Javis Ghan, there are ten or so different people out to claim their reward for finding the stolen jewels. None really have a chance of locating them, and they really just get in the way, confusing the plot, laying false trails and generally being a nuisance.
But all is not what it seems. The 'trinkets' are real, but saying that, they have little intrinsic value. No, their value, to our Dal Havener at least, lies within them. Quite literally! Stolen by a footpad a few hours ago, they found themselves on a trinket sellers barrow, by way of a fence and a couple of local lads. Our Dal Haven princeling is beside himself. He would probably pay a pretty penny for their return, if anyone could locate them for him.
The main players
Our Dal Haven princeling is a petty Noble, in Solis for a few days visiting the well to do and working his moneyspinning deals. His name is Milo Vas Voran, and his Lady wife is the beautiful Sirin. He will pay well for the return of the items, a necklace, a ring and a broach all bearing his family crest, a horses head with a wild mane. Within the broach is a secret concealment containing details that could compromise several important people, both in Solis and Dal Haven. Whilst Vas Voran was happy to collate the information, he fears for his life if anyone finds out about he devious plans. Hence, the recovery of the items is vital, and now perhaps you can see why he seems upset. Of course, he wont venture the true details, but will claim the items are real and of personal valuable.
The trinket seller, Hassran Han, is a semi regular trader in the court these days. What with his aches and pains, his gradually worsening sight and the onset of winter, he just cannot be bothered to set up the stall every day. He sells various odds and ends, mainly cheap jewelry and ornaments with little real value. He has been known to offer the odd rarity for a good price, and some say he is in the pay of the Guild. Whatever the truth, Hassran is not above buying his stock from dubious sources, so long as the price is right, and it usually is..... Hassran bought the Dal Haveners jewelry from a couple of young footpads early in the afternoon for a few coppers. They didn't argue, and he didn't really pay much attention to the boys or the goods. He could pick them out of a crowd, but he doesn't know their names. He does however know the name of the girl who bought them from him less than an hour ago. She is Cadella, a 15 year old street girl, and he did wonder just what she would do with jewelry. He knows she can sometimes be found in Black Court, just up the steps and round the corner.
Cadella is just starting out in the world. Though not an orphan, she does not see much of her family who live somewhere by the south dock. She has decided to find herself a new family, one where, if she excels, she will be noticed. To that end she has latched onto a young lad names Javis Ghan, and spends all her time trying to emulate him. She would do almost anything he asks, and he uses her to carry out menial tasks, such as buying a few trinkets, painting some gold leaf on them and passing them off as expensive jewels. Now, she may be young, but she aint stupid. While cleaning and gilding the items she bought from Hassrans stall (with the coin Javis Ghan gave her) she came across the hidden compartment, and out fell the tightly folded parchment scrap with its minute, intricate lettering. Not the best scholar in Solis, she has not been able to read the (coded) writing. She realises the note may be important, and has decided, through that weird logic children posses, that it is a sinister plot to overthrow the guild, and that she must get the message to the guildlord. Whoever he may be.....
Javis Ghan is an up and coming member of the Guild. He is alert, quick whited and eager to please. Javis is a handsome rogue who people trust from the first time they meet him. He is self assured, friendly, outgoing and deadly with a rapier. Many a fellow has been cut by his keen wit, and his tavern tales are legendary. He has recently come to the notice of the true power in the Guild, dark hearted Malice. Malice has decided to groom Javis for a top role in a few years. Javis often works with Hurkanar Scard, an older housebreaker also in the guild. They get on quite well, but Scard does feel Javis needs to take more care in his dealings with people he doesn't know. Scard almost treats him as a son, though their ages are not that different.
Hurkanar Scard is an old hand at the life of crime. An accomplished housebreaker, he has stolen from some of the most powerful people in Solis. He is a quiet man who frets a lot, always worried about the possible problems and worst case scenarios of any job he does. When he teamed up with Javis Ghan, he nearly had a heart attack. On their first raid, days of careful planning went out the window as Javis brazenly walked into the target house through the front door, located the best silverware, and carried it off down a main street without even worrying about onlookers. Hurkanar has a vast knowledge of the sewers, and frequently uses them for his own personal highway across Solis. People getting close enough may just detect that fact on the air.... He doesn't know about Cadellas involvement with Javis, as Javis always has girls around him.
Jim Riggerman and his mate Frank Four fingers (or Frank the Plank), a couple of gullible sailors, are the unwitting butt of a cruel swindle. Over the past week, they have been enthralled by the tale telling of a young man in the Grey Lady tavern. They have heard tell of great adventure, true love and, most importantly, great treasure. Javis Ghan has spun them a line as only a true swindler can! With great skill, he has hooked them with tales of secret treasure, beknown only to a few in Solis, and lying hidden on a misty island somewhere in the Dal estuary. He has convinced the two sailors that the key to the treasure lies with an old necklace that once belonged to the Lady whose treasure lies unclaimed, a necklace he still has... Of course its all a great hoax, but sure enough Javis convinced the sailors and sure enough the necklace was for sale, and, well the rest is history! Javis is such a convincing liar, he has managed to sell the trinkets to the sailors for 30 gold coins, and demanded a cut of the treasure! The sailors are off to sea an on the tide an hour before dawn. They work aboard the sloop 'Necessity', berthed in the south dock, and will not be back in Solis for 6 weeks. Jims the brains, and Frank is the brawn. They can be found in one of the taverns around dockside up to an hour before they are due to sail. They will not part with the necklace, but will sell the broach and ring back for a few coins. Whilst they are not swordsmen, the sailors are skilled brawlers and can call on the brotherhood that is South Dock should a fight break out.
The streetlife of Curio Court can be counted on to provide confusion and double-dealing. Any questions are generally met with suspicion, and even if you can get an answer, odds are the next man will argue a different tack altogether. Some things can be gleaned through careful questioning:
- The Dal Haven lordling is a new face in the area, but has been seen around uptown acting quite shady 'we notices these things mate, up to no good, him'
- The boys who sold the goods to the trinket seller are footpads working out of uptown 'No-good's, is what I say. Watch yer purse, uptowns the place for they boys, cuttin' purse strings 'n' the like. Bloody rascals!'
- The girl who bought the items lives in Black Court and hangs around with the young lad who tells tales at the Grey Lady some nights. 'Eh, you know where she gets 'er money? Dark 'orse, well, I aint sayin' nothin', but shes a wrong un, she is, 'angin' about with the likes of them wideboys'
- The tale teller hasn't shown up tonight. 'Pity bout the entertainment, twas a good tale he told, specially bout the fishermen and the river monster. So, wheres he to tonight then? anyone know why he aint bin in? Sein that girl again is e? end in tears it will'
- Something shady was going on behind the tavern earlier, and the girl was seen there too. 'I was going round by the arch like, for a, well, for a... anyway, I didn't like the looks of it, bloke gave me a beady stare so I made an 'asty retreat. Saw that girl comin' out later too, bin watchin ER I as'
- A couple of sailors were keen to talk to the tale teller a few nights ago, but he wasn't interested. They pestered him for a couple of nights, and last night he talked for a long time with them. 'Hecklers? no, e don't get that, es too good. Couple of sailors tried to pester the boy a few times afterward, bought im a drink like, but not hecklers as such. Beer must av bin good though, cause he talked with em for some time last night. That one with the missin finger looks a bit thick to me, know what I mean?'
- The sailors left by the tunnel gate towards south docks, muttering something about the necessity of getting back early. 'That stupid one didn't even know which way to go. Twas is mate what led the way down the tunnel road to South Dock. Spose there's no problem like that on a boat at sea eh? cant get lost like, just wet!'
- A week ago: A sloop called 'Necessity' tied up at South Dock for a routine trading visit including repairs. Some of the crew visited Curio Court and the Grey Lady. Javis noticed they were interested in trinkets and treasures on sale and formulated a plan...
- For the last few days: Javis Ghan has been telling tales in the Grey Lady. He made sure he got the sailors interest and played up to them but rebuffed their approaches until last night. Javis asked Cadella to look out for a choice bit of jewelry to complete the scam.
- Last night: Javis finished his tale then talked grudgingly to the sailors. They 'convinced' him to sell them the key to the treasure in his story, for coin and a cut of the winnings. It was at the same time that Vas Vorans wife Sirin had her jewelry stolen by a couple of footpads in uptown, whilst her husband held a clandestine meeting with a powerful merchant.
- This morning: Hassran bought some merchandise from a couple of footpads. It included some nice looking jewelry, and knowing Cadella was looking for something similar, he saw the opportunity to make a few coins. He knew the items were stolen but so what? He failed to spot the secret concealment, what with his poor eyesight and the hustle of the market.
- Mid afternoon: Cadella bought the items, told Javis Ghan and then went home to Black Court where she started to give the jewelry a makeover. She found the parchment at that point. Javis contacted the sailors and arranged to meet in the evening behind the Grey Lady.
- Early evening: Scard kept watch over the deal from the causeway road while Javis did the deal. A court local nearly interrupted having followed Cadella into the alley with a proposal of his own. Scard glared at him and he left swiftly! After the meeting, the sailors left for south dock.
- In the last hour: Vas Voran found his way to Curio Court after being informed it was a likely place for stolen jewelry to surface, and searched in vain for the goods. He started to voice opinions of dishonesty and skullduggery, arousing interest from the locals and visitors alike. Questioning a few people he came upon Hassrans stall and started to argue with the owner, becoming more and more uptight and angry.
- Now: Scard has just returned to the Court alone, and overheard the ranting! He is off to find Javis and try to recover what sound like valuable items. Worth far more than 30 gold coins if the Dal Haveners temper is any gauge! Javis Ghan is off spending his coin elsewhere. Cadella is trying to work out how best to take her coded findings to the guild and can be found skulking around a few of the darker taverns on the seedy side of the street.
- In the next few hours: The sailors will be formulating plans in the dockside pub called 'The Ship' (it is literally an old ship, moored and stuck in the mud and grown into the dock itself) until just after midnight. They will then return to the 'Necessity' for some sleep before setting sail at dawn on the turning tide.
- Vas Voran will pay for the return of the jewelry, but if he thinks anyone knows anything of his plans, he will plot to have them killed. First on his list is the trinket seller, but that can wait.
- If Javis and Scard recover the jewels they will ransom them back to Vas Voran or to a high bidder.
- Cadella will plead ignorance of anything but as a child, she isn't that good at lying. If anyone in the guild gets hold of the code, they would gain a lot of important information that many would kill, and die for. In her ignorance she runs a high risk of an untimely demise......
- Following and questioning the Lady Sirin will indicate her husband is up to something odd, with covert meetings and midnight rendezvous in uptown. She is unaware of the role her jewelry plays in all this