Dungeons and Brothels

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Last session we were asked to investigate the fire at the White Orchid and find out who was behind it, and also to try and find a missing maid of one of the Jarl’s. We knew we’d started the fire, so we just had to find someone else to blame, but the missing maid hadn’t been our fault. What we do find makes Eva think that we should have possibly burned down more of the brothel than we had.

I’ve spent the morning asking around the city, and nobody saw Helen out in the streets just before dawn. My last idea was to look in some of the alleyways around the White Orchid, and unfortunately we found her. She had been stabbed, was covered in blood and stuffed under some empty crates. She was quite dead.

Djarin was able to track the blood trail back to the rear door of the White Orchid, though given how much she had been bleeding she had probably been wrapped in a blanket, or at least bled heavily onto someone’s clothes.

Examining her body closer, Djarin found the broken off end of a dagger in her wound.

We took her body back to the White Orchid, where she was positively identified as Helen. I had a look around her quarters, and found a note written on high quality water marked paper: “Helen, meet me at 5am by the back entrance”. The handwriting was good quality, suggesting that it was probably written by a noble or a scholar. The water mark matched that on letters which had been sent to us by Yrsa, which suggested someone in the Jarl’s retinue, or someone trying to make it look like that.

I had a look down in the nearby sewers, and discovered some high quality clothes which were heavily stained with blood had been thrown down there. There was also a broken dagger – expensive but poor quality and obviously only for show. The clothes were those worn by Karl the previous night.

By that point the Jarl and his retinue were returning from the castle, so I spoke to Yrsa, wanting to present the evidence to her, the Jarl and Karl at the same time. My preference would be that they realise who the most probable culprit was themselves, and we’d get to see Karl’s reaction.

Instead Yrsa insisted that we just tell her, so she can manage the Jarl’s reaction since he had a habit of taking bad news badly. She obviously wanted to keep things quiet, and after the evidence had been presented, came up with an alternative explanation. She wanted to send Karl back home, and ensure something happened to him on the way. Her intent seemed to be to ensure Karl got punished, and that Helen’s family got compensated, but I wasn’t comfortable with this at all.

She tried to offer a sizeable payment, but I refused it and told her to give it to Helen’s family. I don’t particular want to have any more to do with her and her Jarl.

It was though an opportunity to continue searching the White Orchid to find out who had been responsible for the fine. Looking upstairs, we found paintings similar in style to those that we had seen in the Order of Redemption. There was also a room which had a stone above the lintel to the door – a stone very similar in style to the protective stone we found in a tomb many weeks ago.

Inside the room were six beds, but not much sign of anything else suspicious. I took a risk and used my Wytchsight to look for anything enchanted, but there was only the warding stone. Whoever had been in here had probably been sealed in and prevented from leaving. Possibly it was the girls given to the barons, but we don’t have evidence.

In the neighbouring room there was a full length mirror that also showed up as magical. I couldn’t determine what it did though. My medallion seemed to be blurred in the reflection, and if I wore it openly then I seemed to become blurred as well. Though this was probably an effect of the medallion rather than an effect of the mirror.

There were runes around the outside of the mirror, and though I didn’t understand them, I was able to make a copy of them for later investigation.

We also found some back doors that led to a set of ‘secret’ stairs that led down to beneath the White Orchid. As well as some store rooms and what looked like torture/slaughter rooms, there were a couple of dungeons in which were two heavily beaten women.

They were terrified of us, and refused to believe that we meant them anything other than harm. Once we’d located a potential way out, we unchained them and tried to lead them out. As we approached the slaughter room though, they freaked out and Calthar had to knock them both out.

Calthar and myself carried them out to a tunnel, and Djarin stayed behind to close up behind us and leave by the more normal route. By the time we found our way back to street level, they were beginning to recover consciousness.

Now that we were out of the dungeon, they started to believe that we really might be trying to rescue them. I tried my best to reassure them, and they broke down into tears when I said we’d make sure they got food and shelter as well.

The big problem was where to take them. It was getting late into the evening, and we couldn’t risk taking them back inside the city. Instead, I decided to take them to Fred, who had helped us when we were investigating a missing family in one of the poorer districts outside the city walls down near the harbour.

As it turned out, Fred was (with the presentation of some silver) willing to put us up for the night, and we could even use the rooms that the family had vanished from since nobody had been willing to move it.

We got the two women cleaned up, and Calthar went to the nearby inn to get them some food. They can stay here for the night, and I’ll stay with them to make sure they’re okay. What we do with them tomorrow is tomorrow’s problem.

Next session.

Samuel Penn

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