So, it is here where the threads of different events of past days seem to be woven together. Longax whitehairs and that Gabaldon-fellow who was in need of my services. I have an ominous feeling he is behind all of this. A young, rising star could very well profit from great turmoil that would drop the heads of some of his rivals from the game. And now he probably has the crystal also, even though he must not know what it is.
Plotkin winces in anticipation. Perhaps my body language gave away some of my thinking.
— I …. probably know who you are talking about. I have recently stumbled into a particular Longax gentleman who has been very persistent on getting in touch with me. Even enough to rally a group of bravos on my tail. I have a feeling I am being pulled into this ordeal of yours from both ends.
Plotkin considers his words for a while.
— What are your thoughts then on this subject? Are you planning to abandon us in this hour of need? It was you that contacted me and in memory of Papak-
I lift my hand to stop his squirming monologue.
— You can stop trying to reassure me now, master Plotkin. I decided this morning I will talk freely of what is on my mind, no matter how shocking it might be to the vermin of this accursed city. To the people who are in each others throats for petty rivalry and don’t understand that there are forces out there that can enslave us all. I have seen men, hell even the whole of humanity being changed and twisted. Mutilated beyond recognition to serve some inhuman masters that have lived aeons ago, and still exist in one form or another, harboring comeback.
— You must understand, Derak, how that sounds.
— I understand, I blurt in half-angrily. — Hell, I wish you were right. I wish I was just a gibbering madman with a doomsday hallucination. Plenty of them in the streets already. I wish you will never see what I have seen. But unfortunately it isn’t so. Those forces were the ones who caused Papak’s death and more.
At that moment I realize Papak is gone. Either he doesn’t like his death being mentioned or the effects of the drug have finally worn off.
If Plotkin is impatient with me, he is hiding it well. Allows me to continue even without interrupting.
— But you know, master Plotkin. It is your lucky day today. I am here to help you in any way I can. Well, not in any way I can, I won’t murder innocent men in cold blood even if they are mislead, young hotheads. But I will help you to stop the threat, if I can.
— You will? That is mightly generous of you, master Derak. If there is any sarcasm there, I can’t detect it. It is possible that Plotkin is too complex a man for me to read with a short an acquaintance.
— Generosity has nothing to do with it, unfortunately. I believe that the man who is pitted against you, one of them anyway, this Vansittart Gabaldon, has stolen a dark crystal from my possessions. Oh yeah, let me tell you of that crystal. They contain ancient spirits of Mayugita, evil spirits from before our time who are ready to enslave us all. And the best thing is, I don’t know whether that crystal has one or not. A crystal like this was the cause for my journey in the ends of this earth where I witnessed the ancient struggle of inhuman powers of which one was this Mayugita. A struggle in which I was bent in taking part as a vessel of flesh and blood. But I survived and came back only to meet such a crystal again right after my arrival. So, master Plotkin, I am ready to oppose this man, and to get to know more of him and his plots in order to get the crystal back from him. What do you want me to do, master Plotkin?
He is a master of his craft. Even after all this I blurted out, he doesn’t seem to be fazed. Perhaps pauses a bit longer than normal to show that he is absorbing what I just said. He may be judging whether I am more dangerous for him than I am good.
— Well, the first thing would be to know what it is they are planning to accomplish. Niccolo and few others are going into a secret meeting later this evening, with the Longax representative, that much has been found out.
— And you need someone to spy on Niccolo to understand what they are planning, right? That is a difficult matter indeed. And dangerous. Luckily I was someone who had to get in places without anyone noticing. That part of what I am a master of I can use to the advantage of yours, and mine. Time is very, very short though if they are meeting later today. Do you have any information on where it will be taking place.
— Well, yes. The meeting is supposed to take place at the Three Lanterns -tavern.
Fate has a cruel sense of humor. It was this exact tavern where I was hoping to meet Chrysal. But that letter I sent seemed something that was written a lifetime ago.
While I have a hard time seeing a religious zealot fitting in in a fine establishment like that, Three Lanterns is an obvious meeting place for these types of meetings in general. The lantern-type compartments of individual tables make it very difficult, if not impossible to eavesdrop discussions that take place in them.
But then again, I am very familiar with this particular establishment and its owner. She owes me one, as the saying goes and this is as good time as any to cash it, as I am going to leave this city anyway. Next best thing to the original plan to use that uncollected favor to charm Chrysal with my influence in there. My head works as it has always worked, immediately generating plans of infiltration. Perhaps I could act as as performer, going between boothes, masked. I have physical feats that can lend themselves to the stage if needs be.
— I think we can figure something out, but there is not a moment to lose.