I checked the shackles as the guards laughed and walked away from the large cell. I hurt all over from the beating they had given me but stood and glanced at those in the cell. They had searched me and taken all of my weapons, well almost all of my weapons. I still wore the tight leather bracers on each wrist.
I moved to a stone bench and sat as I thought about what had happened. Some of it was my fault but the bastard I had trusted was the one to betray and drug me. Plus there was the baron and the rich merchant from the guild that had put up the reward. The Goaler was only at the bottom of the list even if he had let his men beat me.
I glanced out the tiny slit window and waited as the night slowly passed. I finally shifted and twisted one hand to work my right bracer loose. I carefully pulled out a set of tools and went to work unlocking the shackles. When both were off I quietly set them on the bench and stood. The others in the cell were asleep as I moved to the door.
The single guard in the outer room was asleep as I reached through the bars. I began to pick the lock and the loud click made me freeze as I looked at the guard and then the prisoners. I slowly pushed the door open and stepped out. I slid the picks back into the bracer as I silently moved towards the guard.
He did not even shift when I pulled his own dagger. I shoved it through the spine and into his brain quickly and then lowered him to the floor as he spasmed. I took his door keys and growled as I pulled my stolen boots off his feet and put them on. I unlocked the outer door and walked through the Goal before I left.
The bastards had stolen my purse so I headed through the Keep. I found the guard for the treasury asleep and the dagger made sure he would never wake. It took a minute to unlock the three locks and open the thick door. I pulled a wall hanging down and used the cord to turn it into a heavy pack.
I filled it with gold and silver coins before I left. My next stop was the Keep armory and it was simple to open the single lock. I took two very nice long knives, one for each thigh. Next was four short daggers, one under each arm and two in the small of my back facing each other. Last were two short swords, they were crossed so one was at each shoulder.
I slipped out of the Keep and crossed the city in the darker shadows. I set the pack down when I reached the merchant guildmaster's estate. The damn noble was not in the city or he would be next. I went over the wall and across the grounds to climb in a window. The manor was quiet as I made my way to the master's chambers.
I ignored the woman in the bed as I moved closer and pulled one of the new daggers. Like the guard I shoved the blade through the spine and into the brain. As he spasmed I pulled the dagger out and walked out. Before I left the manor the woman was screaming. I grabbed the pack and headed towards the docks.
The inn was one of the worst on the docks and I left the pack before I climbed up the side. I climbed in an open window and looked at the man and woman in bed. She was snoring louder than most sailors as I moved around the bed. I struck the man in the head and yanked his arms back and started to tie them before he could struggle.
When I was done I yanked him onto his side and slapped his cheek, "so tell me who paid you Daniel."
He groaned and shifted while struggling with the cord around his wrists, "the merchant..."
I pulled a long knife and he froze, "wait Andrew! It ... I did not have a choice!"
I glanced at the woman when she stopped snoring and then put the blade against his throat, "who paid?"
He stiffened, "I do not know. The orders come from a merchant or someone in the port of Retreat. He could be a smuggler but if I do not do as they say they will send someone to kill me."
I twisted his head and shoved the knife into his brain, "so will I."
I yanked the blade out and wiped it before I put it away, "dump the bastard into the sea and run the place yourself."
I left and went down and out the back door. I found the pack and went to my set of rooms. I packed a small sea chest while thinking and stuffed the pack of gold and silver into it. It was very heavy as I lifted it to my shoulder and left. The sun was coming up as I started asking about ships heading to Retreat.
One was going most of the way and I paid for passage. It took four weeks and three ships to reach Retreat. I carried my chest off and stayed at one of the better taverns for a few days. My new home was an old abandoned estate with half the manor burned down. The grounds were overgrown but the estate had four ways in and out.
The upper floors were gone but the kitchen, dining room and a study were still solid and dry. I pulled out a large pouch of silver with a dozen gold coins and hid the chest. Next I began moving around the city. I ate in a different tavern each day and listened to the gossip. The sea side manor of a smuggler was my first target.
The bastard did not even have guards outside and the four inside were sound sleepers. I thumped each on the head and then tied and gagged them. I searched the room the smuggler used as an office but did not find anything. I slipped into his bedroom and crossed to the bed. I ignored the woman as I yanked a black bag over his head and rolled him and tied his hands.
I pulled him out of the bed and through the house. In the office I began to question him. It turned out he did not know anything so I took all his gold and silver and left him whimpering. I used the shadows to return to my estate and hid the chest of money with mine. The next morning I made my rounds like I had been and everyone was talking about the smuggler being robbed.
I hit four more in a week before I heard of Allagore and his sidhe breeding house. He also sold time with them and their half breed daughters. According to rumors he was also supporting a group of sea raiders. Plus the bastard bought and sold information. I had been planning to visit another merchant but changed my mind.
I walked through the city and past the manor and checked his guards. I walked around the manor several times as the day grew into noon. The only guards were on the main doors and I used a back alley to slip in. There were lots of rooms and I heard talking and quiet whispers. In a large back courtyard boys and lads that were half breeds practiced with swords.
On a second floor I found the study where the merchant Allagore worked. He was not there but I picked the lock on the door and slipped in. I started searching through papers and notes but found nothing. I glanced out the window at the practice yard while thinking. I heard voices in the hall and spun and moved so I would be behind the door.
It opened and the merchant strode in and two young sidhe women followed. He was ranting and I pushed the door closed as I started for the desk. He had walked to the window to look out and did not turn until I reached him. I caught his head and yanked it back as I put the blade of a long knife to his throat.
He froze and I pulled him away from the window and turned to push him to a wall, "I have questions."
He growled, "you do not know..."
I slammed his head into the wall and did it again, "did you order the night stalker of Dent turned over to the city guards?"
He shook his head and shifted and I slammed his face into the wall again, "talk damn you!"
He sagged and I lifted the knife and shifted and he gasped as it cut into his throat, "wait! Yes I sent the order but it was for merchant Demal."
I pulled the knife back and then shoved it in under his ear and into his brain, "that was a mistake."
I let him fall and looked at the two women, one had silver hair and the other gold. I glanced around the office before I grinned and moved to the window and opened it. I leaned out and looked before I yelled and pointed to an older lad, "you! Come to the office!"
I turned and moved to the women, "want to leave with me?"
They had been clinging to each other but one slowly nodded. I smiled and looked at the door when the lad stepped in. He glanced at the dead merchant and I saw his hand tighten on the practice sword. I gestured around the room, "you are now the merchant Allagore. Close the slave breeding house and use the money to start a trading company."
He blinked and looked at the women and then at me, "what?"
I sighed, "this city is doomed if it does not change. Look at the merchant's contacts and buy food and clothing in other ports and sell it here. Sell this manor and find or build an estate outside the city. Have your lads learn to farm and hunt and..."
He smiled and then grinned before he nodded. I moved towards the door and the women hesitated before following. When I reached the back entrance I turned and removed the slave collars. I checked the alley and then slipped out with the women. I stopped in a small clothing shop and bought a few dresses for each of them.
I threw the two slave smocks away when we left and went to a tavern for an early dinner. The women clutched the new dresses and had soft smiles. I made sure they ate before we left and I used a twisting route back to the estate I was using and led the two into the kitchen. From there I led them to the study where I had moved a bed.
They looked around as I took their new dresses and set them on a table. I removed the dresses they wore and stripped. I pulled them back to the kitchen and put large pots of water on the stove. I started the fire in it and gestured to the kitchen table and chairs. I went out to the old stables and pulled a horse trough into the dining room.
.... There is more of this story ...