Gus dropped to the ground, landing on his right side, causing blood to bloom through the robe he had taken from the unlucky guard. He did his best to bunch it up and make himself look like a beggar as he limped away from the guard’s station. He was lucky that one of the adventurers he was contending with had slipped him a pick before he was arrested. He had been able to use the sliver of iron to get out of his manacles and trap a very stupid guard with the chain.
He was near the end of the side street that he had been carted up on his ride from the Governor’s mansion. He quickly stopped and sat against the back of a short timber building, and extended a trembling hand. The guards that rounded the corner only saw a beggar, and paid him no mind. As they entered the station, he moved as fast as his injuries would let him. He was searching for a particular business that he hoped to be hiding in when the guard he had put in his place was discovered not to be him.
Limping through the side paths and alleys, he finally found the business he was looking for. It was a small stone building that anyone could tell was a bakery because of the smell of dough being forged into loafs. He made no move to the front door, instead moving to the back where there was a cellar door that appeared to the common man, to be locked. He pressed a switch on the left of the door hinge and the door dropped open. He quickly dropped in and reset the door. The closing of the entrance made the cellar pitch black. Gus slowly descended the steps, counting his steps. On the tenth step, he stopped and reached up on the wall. After a slight recalculation, he moved a half step forward and grabbed a hold a cold metal rod. He spoke the command word and the torch lit up with a false flame. It was harsh at first, since his eyes had already adjusted to the darkness around him.
Wincing, he spotted the small apartment that lay before him. A safe house he was all too pleased to have at this moment. On the left was a simple mattress on the floor that one could tell was stuffed with straw by the bits sticking out. On the right side, were a flat topped chest and a small table with a single chair. Gus went right and opened the chest, besides a good set of plain clothes; there was a vial with a grey cream inside, a water skin, several strips of jerky and a short sword. Setting the ever burning torch on the table, he dropped the robe. Gingerly he pulled his shirt off. Gus gasped in pain as the threads pulled out of the gash in his side. He stood for a moment, steadying himself on the wall. He examined his wound and pulled several more threads of his ruined shirt out and then taking the water skin, soaked part of that same shirt and scrubbed the gash and his face. The pain was throbbing on the wound inflicted during his fight with the adventurers. The pain was making his breaths labored, and yet he smiled as he grabbed the vial and fished a dollop of cream out with his pinky finger. He started patting it across the wound and slowly the bleeding and pain receded. He rubbed what remained on his face where the guard had hit him.
With a sigh, he sat in the chair and drank a little water from the skin. “I will rest and heal tonight, and then I will get what Mother demands,” He thought to himself as he reached into the chest and grabbed the cloth the jerky was in. He ate a piece, as he contemplated where to go next. As the plan started to formulate, he chuckled a little. “I might be able to get everything, if I play this right,” he thought to himself. After his second piece of jerky, he lay down on the mattress and slept and his wounds healed.
Gus woke with a start as the bed he was sleeping on started rocking up and down. He tried to roll out of bed, and into a defensive maneuver, but was stopped against a thick body.
“Time to wake up Boss,” The half-orc said with what seemed to be a toothy smile. Gus rolled back and looked up at the dark grey skinned demi human. He gave a half- hearted smile and sat up. Ruhuk gave a look of what could have been taken as concern, “You never showed up, what gives?”
“Complications, paid complications,” Gus said standing and wiping the remnants of the ointment off his now healed body. “Even with that, we were sent after the wrong bell. We were given the wrong chest to follow. And I believe it was on purpose.” Gus almost growled the last sentence.
“Why do you think that Boss,” Ruhuk questioned, his deep scratchy voice echoing slightly in the small stone room. He listened and moved to the trunk, grabbing a piece of jerky to chew on.
“The other chest was unguarded. We never even knew it existed. It was like the man that came to help my mother was paid to give us bad information on the object he wanted as payment for curing her.” He stopped talking to put his shirt on over his head. He did not begin again for a moment He stopped and stared at the wall as a shocked expression came over his face. Ruhuk looked at where his boss was staring, thinking something bad was coming or maybe there was a spider. As he turned to look and readied himself to stomp or smack an incoming threat, he heard his Boss’ horror filled statement. “He was sent to kill her.”
It took several seconds for the half-orc to stop looking for a spider and hear what Gus has said. His expression instantly changed to a feral snarl as he turned and questioned Gus, “The Medicine Man is trying to kill Mother?” He saw a flurry of motion as Gus was hurriedly getting the fresh clothes on and strapping the weapon to his waist.
Gus did not answer, he just gave an order, “Get the bakers cart, load it with the moldy and stale bread, and then bring it back to the cellar. I will get under the bread so we can get out of town.”
“What if the guards ask?” Ruhuk questioned.
“Tell them it’s for some beggars the baker was told about by one of the brave adventurers that brought the Mayor his new treasure.”
The half-orc nodded and moved to follow the instructions. Gus gathered the blanket and the last piece of jerky and he waited on Ruhuk. He was outwardly calm as he stood in the room, but inside his mind was a fire of possibilities being fueled by fear.
TO BE CONTINUED…