Anu was off somewhere studying forbidden lore, and Maudrin was probably tending his new flock. That left four to deal with Bloodeye and his crew. Still, Alaric wasn’t worried. His new sword would be more than enough to deal with Bloodeye, whatever he was.
Plus, they had a name – a fence named Delia. Bloodeye had run with the Canterway Boys once, and she fenced their illicit goods. A little hunting led them to the Three Fish, a smelly dockside tavern that Mica knew well from her sailing days. Along the way, they saw the aftermath of Jarl Siggrid’s assault on the Goblin ship. Smoke hung over the harbor, the Goblin ship was wrecked at its pier, and Siggrid’s Sӕrvaldyr had its new mast.
At the Three Fish, a surly barkeep served them mugs of grog and directed them to the back, where they met Delia. It didn’t take long for them to be at ease with each other; Dove sold her a nice gem at a bit of a loss, and it soon became apparent that she didn’t like Bloodeye at all. He had tried to sell her some of Odo’s gems, and she couldn’t afford them, so he had left in a foul temper. She wasn’t sure where he would have gone to sell them, but the only fence she knew of that could afford such materworks was Vester Lars. She also knew that Bloodeye was squatting in an abandoned house in the Ratrun, not far from the bazaar.
A quick jaunt up to Northridge to check out Lars proved fruitless; the man wasn’t even in Indiss. He had taken ship for Pelaurios four nights ago. His harried servants were busily cleaning up from his last hedonistic soiree, and Mica promised them beer before leaving. The Ratrun seemed the only possible place to look now.
They found the right street, but there were a great many abandoned structures. Dove approached an old man squatting in the shadow of a leaning shanty, and offered him copper for information. He had, it turned out, seen Bloodeye, and even pointed out the house he had entered. He knew he was in there, along with some flunkies. The old man seemed strangely unfazed by Alaric’s demeanor, as he scampered off to Tarkwel’s Taphouse to drink away his shiny new coppers.
A quick appraisal of the situation showed an abandoned house with two men standing idly across the street from it. Where they lookouts? Only one way to find out. In the alley behind them, Dove floated up to the rooftops to ensure there were no more of them up top; there weren’t, but the alley itself was swarming with rats, who attacked as Fiona charged down the alley to accost the men. One of them drew on her, and she killed him. The party dealt with the rats, and their prisoner was eager to buy his life by betraying Bloodeye. He told them of the secret door in the basement, and of the other guards inside the front door; he even offered to try to talk them down – they were his friends, after all.
It worked; instead of a fight to the death, five thugs ran off, never to be seen again, and the hunters closed in on Bloodeye. In the basement, chanting could be faintly heard down a dark passage. There were huge rats here, but they were easily dealt with. Rounding a corner, the party came face to face with their quarry – three rat-headed humanoids standing around a wooden table. One clutched a glowing ruby, and led the chant from a book bound in black leather. Blades were drawn, and battle joined.
In the end, Bloodeye died along with his misbegotten followers, and Odo’s gems were recovered. Bloodeye’s tale was a tragic one, but he had brought the curse on himself, and his murderous actions left no doubt as to his character. The glowing stone had faded somewhat, but still pulsed occasionally, and the ritual invoking an entity named Lambach to empower the stone was disquieting enough that it was decided not to give it back to Odo just yet. Delia was quite happy with Alaric’s gift to her (Bloodeye’s head), and Odo was pleased enough to pay the party an exquisite black pearl for their services. With any luck, it would be enough to pay for Johann to refit Alaric’s new suit of plate and mail…