Slinker, Slayer, Kobold, Squire; Chapter 20

The coach that Hilde had hired in Slothenburg to take them to Brakoff pulled up in front of the big house she reluctantly called home several days later than anyone had originally expected. The normally bubbly orcish woman took a long, deep breath and smiled broadly even though she was so sick of riding in a carriage that she was just about to scream. Belynda waited for one of the footmen to help her down, and she held on to her familiar, a rat named Cinder, and her spellbook. Trangdor opened the front door of the house and smiled as he sauntered down the walkway to the little gate.

The dwarf waved to his friends as he said, “Welcome home! You’ve missed some excitement here!”

Hilde laughed at this suggestion, and said, “That isn’t likely by a far stretch. Everything looks pretty much the…” and at that her voice began to trail off as she looked at the front yard of her home. There was evidence of some sort of violent activity, and a few of the decorative shrubs had been mangled. She looked behind Trangdor at the freshly painted front door.

Trangdor followed her gaze, and said with a laugh, “Told you. The mayor’s office paid for the repairs to the door. Some murderous dwarves paid us a visit, but the constabulary knew all about it in advance thanks to a tip they got from a concerned citizen.”

The footmen unloaded the baggage from the coach and carried it into the front hallway of the house. Belynda paid them and they set off to whatever it was they did when their job was done. As the carriage pulled away, Hilde was still standing in the front yard looking at the trampled area around the door.

“How many people were here and what the hell happened?” she asked in disbelief.

Trangdor went inside the house as he answered, “The constabulary said two dwarves attacked, but the police had set up a trap. One of the rogues was killed here by the staircase.” Trangdor pointed to the large areas of scrubbed yet still bloodstained woodwork on the floor and walls. “I tried to clean it all up, but we may just want to paint over it.”

Hilde couldn’t keep her mouth closed as she looked at the stains and then back at Trangdor. With a sense of bewildered amusement she asked, “The hell is going on around here?”

Trangdor shrugged his shoulders as he replied, “I don’t rightly know. They have a badly injured fellow locked up tight in the jail and have cremated the other two.”

Hilde looked at Trangdor and asked, “So two dwarves were killed? Anyone we know? And who is the third one in jail?”

Trangdor laughed and shrugged his shoulders again. “I don’t have any more info than that, milady. The constabulary has been remarkably tight-lipped about what all of this is about. They have assured me that whatever happened is all over with, though.”

Hilde sat down in one of the chairs in the main hall and asked, “Where were you during all of this commotion?”

Trangdor sat down in one of the other chairs and said with a laugh, “I was on a wild goose chase courtesy of the constabulary. They had a messenger lure me out and keep me busy looking for a non-existent book buyer. I was going from tavern to tavern looking for them until a constable came and informed me that I needed to return to the house. When I got here they had already hauled off the dwarf that died in our entryway, and there was a hysterical orcish woman and a little xvart made up to look something like Belynda. I reckon the orc was supposed to be you.”

Belynda climbed up onto the couch and said, “This is unbelievable! How could we have missed it all?”

Trangdor laughed and said, “People that seek adventure often miss it when adventure comes round to pay a house call. The same is true for people that go off to attend funerals. Death showed up here, too.”

Hilde let out a long sigh. She looked at her friends, and at the marred woodwork in the entryway. “Isn’t that a bother.” She muttered under her breath.

The next day Hilde spent considerable time with the Chief of the Constabulary for Brakoff. After what seemed like hours of back and forth with far more questions than Hilde felt was necessary to get the answers she sought, the Viscountess finally had a good idea of what had transpired in her absence. There was eventually a nearly complete story, the only element missing was the identity of the unidentified person that had caught wind of the plot against the descendants of the late Governor-General, and after much fancy verbal footwork that element of the saga was never brought up for Hilde’s review. When she, Belynda, and Trangdor left the Chief’s office not one of them had any idea that this part of the puzzle had gone unnoticed by them. In a few more weeks the constabulary sergeant that had handled the entire ordeal would be leaving for his normal post in the Coreland so they would really have to hunt for the answers if they ever thought to ask the question.

Chances were slim though on this ever coming up again. Hilde had a full plate with her new duties as a noble. Her estate needed to be properly secured and a thorough audit done of all of its resources. She still had unfinished business in the Peklender Mine job, and a mysterious invitation had come from her friend Shr Gelbrand, the other dwarf in her life, for her and her entourage to come see his newly acquired axe. In short there were plenty of things to occupy Hilde’s mind. It was doubtful that she would ever give much thought about the kobold that had been a slinking slayer and squire. And that was precisely how Jandle wanted it to be.

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