Part 5: Investigations in Khorinis
I decided that it wasn't worth it to help out Canthar. This Sarah had not done me wrong, and I wasn't about to let Canthar hold my past over me.
I turned and jogged toward the Militia headquarters.
I briefly paused to watch the training drills of nearby Militiamen.
Inside his office, I found Lord Andre reading through a tome that he had on a podium. I coughed to attract his attention and then told him why I'd come.
"I've come to collect the bounty for a criminal. Canthar the merchant is trying to get rid of Sarah!" I stated.
Andre looked perplexed. "Sarah? The weapons merchant in the marketplace?"
"I was supposed to foist a letter on Sarah which claimed that she's supplying weapons to Onar." I showed the Andre the letter that the crooked merchant had given me.
"I see. I shall gladly pay the bounty for that bastard. He is already as good as behind bars."
Andre ordered a few of his men to go and apprehend Canthar. Within a few moments he was found and taken to a cell. I had to see the look on his face.
As I tried to enter the jails, I was stopped by a grouchy guard.
"What do you want here?"
"I want to see the prisoners."
"Go ahead, but don't stay here too long, understood?"
I tried to engage him in some smalltalk but he wouldn't have any of it. I found the cell that Canthar was in and pulled a nearby lever to raise the door.
He saw me approach and scowled. He'd obviously known it was me who had turned him in.
Instead of the anger and betrayal that I expected Canthar to feel, he simply looked at me and smiled. "I warned you, but you wouldn't listen. We will discuss this later. Now get lost, I want to rest."
I shrugged and left.
Now that Canthar had been dealt with, I decided I would tackle the issue of the Thieves Guild. Andre said he'd grant me entrance into the Militia which would enable me to meet with the Paladins.
As I walked by the city's main gate, I noticed that a militiaman was standing guard at a small storage area.
I approached to greet him when I was yelled at the leave.
"No one may enter the storeroom."
"Why not?" I asked.
"The honorable Lord Hagen has confiscated the goods for the king's army."
I didn't like blocked rooms, and it sounded like they had supplies back there. Wasn't my mission more important than anything the Paladins were doing?
A few minutes later, I recalled the merchant Zuris in the marketplace and hatched a plan.
I found the merchant's stall and browsed through his goods. Just as I'd thought. He had a scroll of sleep. I purchased the scroll and a few other miscellaneous trinkets so as to not draw much suspicion.
Then I returned to the small storage nook. Looking the guard in the eye, I held the scroll and began to recite the words that were written on it.
There was a bright flash of light over the guards head and he collapsed onto the ground for a nap.
I stepped over his body and began to ransack the stockpile. For my mission, of course.
The first chest had several bundles of clothing. Clothes were hard to come by right now so finding a place to sell them wouldn't be hard.
The second chest had a set of leather armor, torches, hammers, and some mandibles. The leather armor was quite a great find and would serve me well for my mission.
As I was looking over my ill gotten goods I heard the guard begin to stir awake. I ducked into the nearest building until things died down and to change into my new gear.
A friendly merchant named Mateo greeted me.
"What can I do for you?"
I tapped the counter nervously. I could hear the newly awoken guard shouting outside. "What are you selling?"
"I can offer you everything you need to survive in the wild. Weapons, torches, provisions, ... even armor. I still have a special piece in stock. Double hardened armor of snapper leather - still unused. Interested?"
I shook my head and laughed silently to myself. It wouldn't be a good idea to get dressed here.
I entered the shop just opposite of Mateos'.
The shop keep perked up when he saw me and I got the impression that he didn't see many customers.
"Welcome to my shop, stranger! I am Bosper. I craft bows and trade in furs. What brings you to Khorinis?"
"I need to get into the upper quarter."
"Where the paladins are? Forget it. You need to be a respected citizen here, or at least hold a decent job. As a stranger, you stand no chance of getting in. "
"I've heard that someone stole from you."
"Who told you that? Probably Bartok, huh? Didn't have anything better to tell you? Oh well. Let me tell you, if I get hold of this bastard he can say his prayers! " I left the shop only for a moment. When I came back, I could only just see him leave - with my bow on his shoulder. I called the guards right away, but the lowlife ran towards the harbor. And they lost him there. I lit a bonfire under their asses then, and they searched the entire harbor district. But they didn't find a thing. Those bumbling lackeys!" Bosper shook with anger. "I bet my bow is still in town somewhere. I informed the guards on both city gates, and they haven't seen anyone leave with my bow. When I get my hands on that bastard..."
"I'm looking for work" I said.
"Mmh - I could use a new apprentice. The last one just gave up on his job two days ago. Do you know anything about hunting, then?"
Bosper sighed. "I could teach you how to skin animals. I'll pay you well for every skin you bring me."
"What if I want to sign on with one of the other masters?"
Bosper frowned. "Balderdash! Harad and Mateo already have apprentices. Constantino the alchemist is a loner - and he hasn't taken an apprentice in years. And as for Thorben - everyone knows he's dead broke - he probably couldn't even pay you. I, on the other hand, am in urgent need of an apprentice - and I pay well, too. But no matter where you want to sign on - you need the approval of all the other masters from the lower part of town."
"Why did you apprentice give up his job?"
"All he said was that it had become too dangerous out there. If you're really interested, you can ask him yourself. His name is Bartok. He's probably hanging out near Coragon's pub. Go through the underpass from the smithy, then you're headed straight for it."
I browsed through Bosper's wares but didn't find anything of use to me. I changed into my new leathers and left.
I ran into Thorben outside and informed him that I'd received the blessing of both Innos and Adanos. He said that I had his approval if I wished to become someone's apprentice.
I continued down into the harbor area.
It seemed like the Harbor was at the center of the thieves guilds operations and would be a good place to continue with my investigation. Following some previous advice, I decided to learn what I could from the bartender.
I sat down at the bar. "How are things?" I asked the barkeep.
"If you want something to drink, you'll have to order it."
I leaned in toward Kardif. "I bet you overhear a lot of things..."
Kardif eyed me with suspicion. "So, whats that to you?"
"I've always got an open ear for news."
"Have you got your purse open, then? Every piece of information I give will cost you 10 gold pieces."
"All right, agreed."
"You struck a good bargain", Kardif grinned. "I'm always at your service."
"What do you know about the missing citizens?" I asked, tossing a purse of 10 coins at the barkeep.
"All I know is that some people have vanished during the last few days. It's especially bad down here at the harbor, they say. Maybe you should ask around here a bit. There were some cases in the lower part of the city, too. If you want to know more, you should talk to Coragon. He has his pub in the lower part of town, and he's likely to hear a thing or two. Halvor the fish merchant by the quay might know something, too. Many people frequent him."
I pulled out ten more coins and handed them to Kardif. "Where can I find work?"
"You're not likely to find work down here at the harbor. You need to go to the craftsmen in the lower part of town for that. But if you wield a decent blade, you could go challenge Alrik. He fights for gold, behind the warehouse. "
I tossed more coins to the man. "Is there any 'special' work to be had around here where I could make some quick money?"
Kardif tapped his chin and leaned in toward me. "Something special you say? Go talk to Nagur. Maybe he can help you." He said, gesturing to the man in the corner. I nodded and walked away.
I approached Nagur. "Kardif says you may have a job for me."
He eyed me cautiously. "Well, well. So you're looking for a special job. Okay, but we play my by rules, understood?"
"What does that mean?"
"That means you do what I say and you get a third of the profits. If you don't like it, then there's no job."
I shrugged. Sounded fair to me. "All right, you're the boss."
"Good, then let me know when you're ready to rake in a heap of gold."
"Whats your plan?" I said.
"You know the merchant Baltram, don't you? If not it's time you talked to him. This Baltram has a messenger who supplies him with goods from Akil's farm. That is he HAD a messenger, until I cut his throat. And now Baltram has to get a new one. And that will be you. Your job is to get hired by Baltram and fetch the delivery from Akil. And just don't try selling the stuff yourself. Have you got all that?"
"Where is Akil's farm?"
"Leave the city by the east gate, that's directly on the marketplace. If you follow the road to the right, you'll soon come to a few steps cut into the rock. Go up there and you'll come to Akil's farm."
That sounded easy enough. "Well then, I'm all set."
"Good, then get on your way - but if you try to cheat me, you'll soon be every bit as dead as the messenger! Don't forget it!"
I understood fully, though I found it a bit odd how openly he talked about his criminal activities. Oh well. I shrugged and left the bar.
I saw my buddy Lares by the harbor and remembered that Vatras had wanted me to give him something.
"Vatras sent me. He told me to come to you when I needed help."
Lares looked impressed. "So you've already been to see Vatras. You must have made a lasting impression on him. Otherwise he certainly wouldn't have volunteered my name. Especially not since the matter with those missing people still hasn't been resolved. Tell me what you need."
I handed the ornament to Lares. "Vatras gave me this ornament to bring to you. He said it is to be taken back."
He sighed. "Of course. It's up to me, as usual, I might have known. I'll have to walk halfway across the island to make it back to the Water Mages."
"I can take the ornament there for you!" I said. I was already leaving town anyway.
"Mmh. I think I had better take it there myself. But you could come with me. Only, I can't leave here at the moment. I need to keep an eye on the harbor."
I changed the topic to my more immediate concern. "Do you know anything about the thieves guild in town?"
Lares shook his head. "The questions you ask. Of course, there's a thieves guild here. Just like in every big city. And every pickpocket or fence is connected to it somehow."
"Do you know where I can find it?"
"No offense, but even if I knew, I wouldn't tell you anything", Lares said, laughing. "These people usually react VERY sensitively to things like that. If you want to get involved with them, you should be careful."
"Vatras said you could help me join a community."
"Getting tired of being the underdog, are you? All right, I see your point. I can exert my influence with the mercenaries if you want to join Lee. And I'm sure we can find a way to get you into the monastery soon. But the easiest thing would certainly be for you to join the militia. Which community do you prefer?"
"I'll have to think about it..." I replied. The Militia sounded easiest but I wasn't sure if they were what I wanted to associate myself with. I'd have to think it over - and soon.
While I was down in the harbor district I decided I'd investigate these missing people more. While deep in thought, I walked past an oddly dressed man who spoke with an interesting accent.
I didn't pay much attention when I found out that he wished for me to visit his brothel. Gross.
Kardif had told me that Halvor the fishmonger knew something about the missing people. I found him nearby and questioned him about it.
"Can you tell me something about those missing people?"
"Missing people? This is a harbor, pal. Things like that are bound to happen. The sea is treacherous and bound to claim a life now and then. Captains of large vessels will always sign on new sailors in large seaports such as Khorinis to complete their crews. And if they don't find any volunteers, some people may get dragged off against their will. And then they're gone.
"Are YOU missing someone?"
"Do you know of anyone who's missing?"
He simply shrugged. "No idea. Ask the ship builders."
At the opposite end of the harbor I saw the dry dock. I approached and saw the man in charge. He had a bottle of alcohol in one hand, and looked frightened.
"What are you doing here?" I said to the man.
"I'm building a ship because I want to get out of here - as fast as I can! But the way it looks right now, this ship will never be finished."
"Why are you in such a hurry?"
"Soon the orcs will come and burn down the city."
"What makes you think that?"
"Boy, have you noticed the paladins running around everywhere? Why do you think they're here? I tell you, they're here because the orcs will attack soon. And that won't be pretty." I knew he had a reason to be fearful, but the Paladin at the gate had warned me pretty harshly about riling up the populace. I kept my mouth shut.
"Can I help you somehow?"
"Yes, you can. Find out what the paladins are planning. I want to know why they're here. And I have to know if the orcs will attack - and how far from the city they are. One of the bastards was even seen outside the city. Just bring me all the information you can get. I need to know how much time I have left to finish the boat."
"Why can't you finish your ship?" I inquired.
Garvell waved his hand dismissively. "Oh, we have thousands of problems. The hull still isn't stable, and it's still missing a lot of boards. But I have hardly any gold left to buy new material with, and the last delivery had bugs in it. My boys don't work productively. One wants a fast ship above all else, the other one is worried about the figurehead! As if we didn't have more important things to do!"
The shipbuilder turned a moment to look over the progress of his ship. "Also, one of my people is simply not showing up for work any more. I'm beginning to fear that this will delay the construction even more."
"You're short a worker?"
"Yes. His name's Monty. He's vanished into thin air. The lazy pig is probably living the high life on a farm somewhere. I should never have paid him in advance. "
"When was the last time you saw Monty?"
Garvell scowled. "He hasn't bothered to show up for work for at least two days."
"I've heard that other people have gone missing too."
"Just what I'm saying. That's where the evil starts. Farim the fisherman told me something similar. His buddy William is no longer around." He shook his head. "I bet the orcs are behind this."
"Where can I find Farim?"
"He's a fisherman. I think his hut is near the provisions store of the paladins but I don't know for sure."
I made my way to the other side of the harbor. Following Garvell's directions, I found the fisherman on the beach a short distance from the Paladin's supply store.
"You're a fisherman?" I asked to see if I had the right man.
Farim rolled his eyes with his fishing pole in hand. "Now how did you ever guess that?" It'd have been much easier to simply ask for him by name. "Can't you simply leave me alone? Don't take it personally, but I haven't been too happy lately. It's that militia."
"Trouble with the militia?" That seemed to be a recurring theme.
"Those bastards keep coming here and taking whatever they want. Last week they made off with my entire catch. 'It's for a good cause' they said. I know that everybody's got to fend for himself since the farmers have stopped trading. And, of course, sometimes people just go hungry. Small wonder that they're snatching the fish from right under my nose. But if they keep doing this, I won't even have enough to feed myself.
"Have you talked to the paladins about this?"
He laughed. "Are you joking? Do you really think they'd be interested if a poor devil like me has his problems with the militia?"
"Maybe I can help you."
Farim rubbed his chin. "I don't know. I suppose you'd have to know somebody from the militia who has connections to the paladins. The paladins will hardly buy the fish from me."
"I shall see what I can do." I cleared my throat and changed the topic. "Your buddy William has disappeared?"
"So he has. He's a fisherman but a little too big for his boots, I should add. He should have stayed well away from that bunch."
"What bastards would those be?"
"I don't know who they are or what their business is here in Khorinis. I only know the place where they met up with William. I just happened to see William there when I was fishing in the bay."
"Where exactly is that meeting place?"
"There's a bay opposite the harbor, north of here. You can only reach it by boat, or swim. There's a beach there, and a small fishing camp. That's where I saw them"
I decided that it sounded like the small beach camp I passed on my way into town. I made a note to investigate it later on.
"I think I've heard enough."
Nagur had made the terms of our agreement quite clear and if my source was right, Nagur's shady dealings were probably tied into the thieves guild somehow. I made my way over to the marketplace as fast as I could.
As luck would have it, the merchant Baltram waved me over as soon as he saw me.
"Are you looking for a job?" He asked, a hint of panic in his voice.
"Sure, what's it about?" I asked even though I already knew the details.
"My errand-boy hasn't come back, and I'm waiting for a delivery from the farmer Akil."
"And how much is it worth to you?"
"I'll give you 50 gold pieces."
"Fine, I'm in."
Baltram looked relieved. "Okay, just tell Akil that I sent you. He'll give you a package. Bring it to me."
I left the gate and cautiously made my way toward Akil's farm. I hoped that this trip would go down without any trouble.
Other Info: Quick clip of some amazing voice acting: