Slinker, Slayer, Kobold, Squire; Chapter 11

Jandle was not a hundred percent sure what he needed to do with this information, but he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he had to get out of this hovel and back to the inn. He wasn’t sure how much longer the three dwarves would be preoccupied with trying to find him in the city so Jandle thought he had best speed this along. He certainly wasn’t going to go back the same way he got here, though.

Opening the back door just a crack, Jandle peered out to make sure the dogs hadn’t come around snooping. They were bigger than he was and could cause considerable grief to the kobold if they tried to prevent him from escaping. Jandle didn’t relish the thought of being mauled and he didn’t want to have to kill the hounds because that would leave a mess that would be a dead giveaway that somebody had been slinking about. Most of what Jandle had discovered was going to be tough to sell to the authorities as a threat and even more so if they got scared off and absconded into better hiding than this dismal old hog farm. The dogs weren’t anywhere in sight, so Jandle slipped out as quietly as he could and let the door latch behind him. Taking a deep breath, and still holding the bean pot close to his chest, the kobold started jogging off towards where he had scaled the fence from the other side.

He scrambled up and over the same way as when he came in, leaving the clay pot on the fence post and then retrieving it afterwards. The woman who owned the chickens was chuckling at his antics and waved to him as the squire trotted quickly along the fence to the gate. One of the woman’s little boys was there and opened the gate for him. Looking down the road towards the city proper Jandle darted across the road and down the fence line of the farm across the road. He would curve around the long way and come into the city from the north. That would cut down on his chances of encountering the three dreadful dwarves and right now that was all that mattered.

Jandle weaved his way through the little farms, orchards, and fields that surrounded Brakoff as he made a sweeping curve from the eastern side of the suburbs to the northern side. He paused a few times to catch his breath and eat a handful of the now completely cold beans, all the while taking care not to break the eggs. He was developing quite a thirst after all of this racing about. Even though his legs were short he had covered a lot of ground this morning. He lingered on the northern side of town where the main road came in from Kederlenn hoping to spot a constable or soldier. Being even more cautious than he already tended to be, the kobold crept closer to the gate of the city. At last he caught sight of a constable just inside the gateway and Jandle dashed forward. He almost felt like hollering as he ran, the adrenaline was pumping so much in his system.

The constable was a human, and he looked at the approaching kobold with a look of bemused surprise. He was going to say something about how fast this little guy was going but before he could form a suitably snarky remark the kobold was upon him, gasping for breath and waving what appeared to be a clay pot with eggs in it.

“Quickly!” said Jandle breathlessly. “Sergeant Hilde is in danger!” Jandle’s mouth was moving but all he could manage was to breath and even that wasn’t fully engaged.

The constable bowed to get a closer look at this dirty little monster in front of him. “You mean Shar Eigenblade?” he asked with a note of incredulity.

Jandle nodded his head rapidly. “Dwarves are out to get her. Revenge for Linkristle.” Jandle said as he struggled to get his composure.

Lifting his kepi and scratching his head the constable tried to make sense of what this distressed little fellow was talking about. He asked, “Are you saying that there are dwarves trying to kill the Viscountess?”

Jandle nodded his head emphatically. “Precisely what I am saying.” he answered, finally having caught his breath enough to stand up. “They chased me, but I lost them. I found evidence to suggest they mean her harm.”

A second constable that had been down the street was overcome with curiosity and strolled down to see what was going on. This man was some sort of mixed goblinoid lineage, and he had a somewhat bowlegged gait. His truncheon clutched tightly in his fist, he called out in a slightly hushed tone, “Hey Gob, what’s all this about?”

The first constable looked up at the new addition to the conversation and replied, “Allo Mantz. This little man says that there is a dwarven plot to hurt or kill Viscountess Eigenblade.” Gob looked down at Jandle and continued, “That’s as far as we’ve gotten. Does that sum it up, little master?”

Nodding his head Jandle answered, “Yes, sir. I don’t know who they are exactly, but they have a relationship of some sort with the Velferin clan. What of them you might know or not is of no importance. But they were run afoul of by the Governor-General and these dwarves might be looking for revenge.”

The second constable took out a little notebook and scribbled something in it. Looking at Jandle he asked, “And who are you, my little friend? Do you have some relation to the Viscountess?”

Jandle shifted the clay pot to his other hand and replied softly, “I was the Governor-General’s squire.”

An awkward silence engulfed the trio as they stood there. The constables exchanged glances and tried to avoid making eye contact with the kobold. They were now nearly as nervous as the kobold had been. Finally, the one named Gob asked almost in a whisper, “Have you someplace to hole up, sir?”

Jandle nodded his head again and said, “I am staying at the Copper Dragon inn. I have been tasked with doing what I can to help Hilde in whatever way I can.”

Mantz pocketed his notebook and said, “I’ll go report this to the chief. Somebody will be around later to ask more questions I’m sure.”

Gob looked around as if he thought dwarves would suddenly rush out and deliver screaming mayhem. Looking back to Jandle he said, “We love our Viscountess, you know. Nothing is going to happen to her on our watch.”

Jandle tried to smile and said, “She isn’t in town. I don’t know when she is heading back from the family estate but right now Goldenhelm is the only one in the house here.”

Mantz took a deep breath and said, “I’ll pass that along too, then. Be back in a while, Gob.” Looking at Jandle Mantz asked, “Do you want me to escort you back to the inn, sir?”

Jandle shook his head. “No, I’ll make my way carefully. I’ll be carrying more than this wretched dagger from here out, you can be sure.”

The two constables laughed. Gob went back to minding his post here at the gate and Mantz strolled quickly towards the city center to make his report. Jandle took a good look around and then started back to trotting through the streets towards his inn. He would take more alleys than main boulevards and he was glad that Brakoff wasn’t a larger city. As it was Jandle found every dwarf to be mildly startling. Jandle kept a hand on his dagger and focused on getting to the inn without running into anyone.

The squire’s knowledge of the city was sufficient that he successfully navigated his way to the back of the Copper Dragon, and he jogged right in through the back door of the kitchen. Jandle still had his pot of eggs and he went up the back stairs that the staff of the inn used to get about the place. Should there have been any creepy dwarves in the lobby or hanging about asking questions they never would have spotted the furtive movements of the kobold who had stayed safely well behind the scenes in this blundering comedy of errors. There wasn’t a soul in the hallway and Jandle dashed to his room. As swiftly as the little lizardman could manage, he unlocked his door, closed it, and relocked it from inside. He let out a small sigh of relief and sat down on the bed.

“That escalated quickly.” he muttered to himself.

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