The White Badge of Deceit; Chapter 3

Twitch took the leather pouch up to Bex’s suite with the chest of Geldenreich coins under his other arm. As the visitor in the floppy black hat climbed back into his coach and made their way back down the road towards the Slothjemian capitol, Twitch turned his full attention to the documents inside the satchel. Bex cleared off her large oaken table so that he could spread out the various papers. She drew a curtain across the window and almost imperceptibly cast a light spell to illuminate the room with a pleasant glow that was easy on the eyes. With that she took her leave and went further into her chambers, locking the door behind her.

The shadow elf sorted all of the information and made neat piles for different categories. People involved, the kind of information he was after, and the details about how the city of Debreken was laid out and what its defenses were. A picture was beginning to take shape of how all of this would play out. Twitch hummed happily to himself as he looked at the information, laughed as he fitted it to his abilities, and almost giggled as he thought ahead to the finished project. With a pen he underlined and circled key passages throughout, scribbling notes in the margins here and there. It was very late in the evening when he finally finished his work and knocked on Bex’s door to let her know he was done.

Twitch then went downstairs to find the tavern full of local folk drinking and having a lovely time. Twitch retrieved his mandolin, and began to softly play for their entertainment. He played for an hour or so, and then the simple peasants began to head for their own homes in the countryside. When the last one had departed, Twitch took his mandolin and went upstairs to his own room. A simple room; just a bed and no table. A chair to pile things on, and a large trunk for his belongings rounded out the furnishings. A couple of landscape paintings hung on the walls and the solitary window was open to let the summer breeze in. On the bed was the dossier pouch. Twitch latched the door and pushed the satchel to one side as he lay down. Very quickly he was asleep.

Twitch awoke just before the knock on his door forced his eyes to open. “Yes?” he asked in his customarily neutral tone that accompanied every wake-up call he had ever been given.

Bex’s low, almost monotone voice slipped through the door less than musically and more like the bleating of a goat. “Did you want breakfast? And what needs enchanting before you go?”

The shadow elf swung his legs off of the bed and quickly he stood and unlatched the door. Opening it about halfway he sat back on the bed. “Yes. And the usual.” He reached into his tunic and pulled out a black wallet which he tossed to Bex who stood in the doorway. “Something along the lines of a communication spell. I will have to let you know when to throw open a gate. Nothing too spectacular. Just have to hand you some stuff from a couple hundred miles away.”

“Alright.” Said Bex as she clutched the wallet in her hand, and walked to her suite to prepare her magicks.

Twitch sat for a few minutes before putting on his boots and heading downstairs to find some food. He took the dossier with him, his mind already running over the details of the plan formulating in his head. His laundry was done, his mandolin had a decent set of strings that would easily hold out for this trip, and his arsenal was in tip-top shape. He might need to acquire some additional climbing rope between here and his destination, but other than that he couldn’t think of anything he needed immediately. According to the information in the dossier, the city of Debreken was large enough that he would be able to find most everything else he might want.

Gumble set a plate of hash, eggs, and some sort of cooked meat down at Twitch’s table along with a pitcher of apple juice. The elf ate quickly as he continued to pour over his notes from the day before. He jotted down more information on a separate page and tucked it into his tunic. The rest of the documents he scanned briefly before bundling it all together and putting it back in the leather pouch. Finishing his food he then carried the pouch upstairs.

He knocked quietly at Bex’s door. No answer. He tried the latch. Locked. An impish smile snuck across his face as he reached into his pocket to procure his lockpicking set. Just as he was about to set to work on the lock, Bex suddenly opened the door. She looked at him, her face emotionless.

“You would’ve gotten acid in your eye.” She said. “You know that, right? Steaming hot acid, right in your eye.” She handed him the wallet he had given her. “And I would have laughed.”

Twitch smiled as he stood back up. “Then it would have been worth it.” He handed her the leather document pouch, and then pulled the folded page of notes from his tunic and handed her that as well. “Secure the parcel please. And the notes are for you so you can follow along from here if you like.”

Bex nodded her head. They looked at each other for a moment, him smiling and her not. Then she closed the door again. He could hear locks being set on the other side. He smiled even more as he went back to his room. There was much to do.

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