There was a lot of stuff on the shelves in Gilla’s herbalism shop. Everything from small clay pots of living plants to earthenware jars of dried leaves and bottles of colorful liquid corked and sealed with wax. There was also a small box made of smoky textured glass and what looked to be a reddish golden wood on the corners and the lid. The box was empty and despite the opaque nature of the glass it was obvious to Gilla that there wasn’t anything in it because she hadn’t placed anything in it and there wasn’t anyone in the entire town foolish enough to have opened the box that sat tucked away among the cluttered items in the shop. Gilla might look like a beautiful, curvaceous dark-haired woman but she had a somewhat more sinister reputation.
With the Archduke out of town it became a part of Gilla’s routine to check on the small glass box every now and then. It had been on the specific orders of the Archduchess herself that Gilla had to keep an eye on the box whenever the ruler of the realm left in the company of his hooligan friends in pursuit of some damned adventure or another. Gilla took this task seriously and was prepared to take the box back to her apartment with her if the Archduke and his entourage didn’t make it back to town. But on the third time that Gilla checked the box she saw a cloudy blue fog swirling inside.
“Oh, for the love of damnation.” Gilla muttered. She grabbed the glass box and tucked it into the crook of her right arm. Bracing for the cold of the winter afternoon Gilla stepped out into the street in front of her shop and looked both ways. There were a lot of people out and about, but not the people she wanted. Finally, she saw two people that were on the list of acceptable persons she could trust. Motioning to them with her left hand, she conveyed a sense of urgency without saying a word.
The two people ran up to Gilla. They were xvarts, the hairless blue-skinned goblinoids. These two in particular were the city rat catchers and as part of their duties they were constantly on the move. They nodded in unison to Gilla and stood before her expectedly.
Gilla whispered just loud enough that the xvarts could hear her, but not loud enough to let anyone else know what was amiss. “The Archduke is dead again. The Archduchess is supposed to be with him, so go tell Fiddles and Jandle to get their asses to the church. Tell Jandle to try and get a hold of the Archduchess on the orb and let her know that we have his soul. Then go find their Father Grattius and tell him to get to the church too. It has to be all hands on deck, you two, so don’t monkey around. I’m going to find Quinn and hole up until they bring a body back. You two get going and if you don’t end up at the Howler House and alert Gus I’ll crush your skulls into a fine powder. GO!”
With that the two xvarts scampered off into the waning daylight to carry out the herbalist’s wishes. Gilla muttered under her breath and locked up her shop before heading quickly down the street to find that drider. Whenever a girl needed a safe place to hide there was never a better option than the lair of a half-spider half-dark elven wizard. Nobody wanted to tangle with that.