*Posted with permission from the author Shadow Riter
Who would have thought that Daniel had a sister? Well not a biological sister but a woman whom he thought of as a sibling! But I have got ahead of myself. Let me start from the beginning.
I was quietly chatting with Elyograg as he was new to our class and was interested in our lessons. I was explaining Daniel’s rule” better to run away and live to sleuth another day” when Daniel walked into the room. He looked weary but we all knew he was more worried about Algenon than he would let on. Oh he would say it is just another contract but when he thought no one was looking I could see he cared for the old man.
He got right to the point. There was urgency in his voice.
Hello Sleuths, did anyone find Algenon’s books?
Moxxi seemed to have taken a liking to Algenon as well. She had searched everywhere “sadly, did not” She shook her head. Silent Death and Ansatsu were also shaking their heads. Seemed none of us had seen even a page.
Many were quick to point out other things happening. Queen elf sand had heard sherry the mouse is in trouble others were concerned about the gargoyle realms. It seemed like chaos and havoc were everywhere.
“Many things are happening in the realm. We may have to scout out many different things at the same time. Keep very aware in the next while. Do you think you are ready for that?
Some shrugged uncertainly. Smolen honestly stated I do not know but MELINKO, Mad Dawg, and Clym jumped to their feet stating emphatically “Go on M’lord! I am up to the challenge! Ansatsu was grinning with a look of anticipation. Rei had pulled a dagger from his boot and laughed when he said “If it involves killing I am in!”
Daniel said he thought we needed to talk to the prodigies who deal with Algenon. He asked us to report other events to Captain Bob or Amonos. We all agreed that the safety of the entire realm should be handled by the guard. I planned to go myself. I knew my miniature kriss could always come in handy.
We traveled to Nujel’m where we found Sarah in her favorite place on the north beach. She was fretting more than usual but still greeted us politely. Our conversation went much as follows:
Sarah The Alchemy Prodigy: Hello again. Have you found a cure for alchemy master?
Daniel Ravens: No we have not
Sarah The Alchemy Prodigy: He is skin and bones now
Daniel Ravens: Have you been down to see him lately?
Sarah The Alchemy Prodigy: I go every day. I make him soup.
Daniel Ravens: I see. Do you go alone?
She did not answer but we wanted to know if there could have been an accomplice so Daniel pressed harder
Daniel Ravens: Do YOU GO Alone?
Mad Dawg: answer the man!
She seemed to tear up and nodded.
Sarah The Alchemy Prodigy: He is skin and bones now
Daniel Ravens: Do you know about any others? Can anyone else get there that you know about?
Confusion came over her face so Ansatsu asked more gently “Who else goes and visits?”
Sarah The Alchemy Prodigy: Sometimes Emile comes but she likes to guard the pool and the other girl who is down by the dock has been meditating there.
Daniel Ravens: Water breath is a requirement of the prodigies before they can get there is that not right?
Sarah nodded. Why yes it is. Odd that she says she cannot make it. Hmm, that is suspicious. I guess I am so worried about Master that I had not thought of that.
Daniel Ravens: One more thing. Do you think Emile would hurt Alge… erm Master Alchemist?
Sarah: Oh no she guards that pool as though our life depends on it *in a sad tone* and Master’s might.
Daniel Ravens was looking at us, “I wonder why she is not wearing her robes?” He turned to her “tell us where your robe is!”
Sarah The Alchemy Prodigy: We are trying to blend in to protect ourselves
Elyograg: ewww smart
Daniel Ravens: protect from what?
Sarah The Alchemy Prodigy: There have been raids at the docks. WE do not want to get hurt.
Mad Dawg: Raids at the docks?
Ansatsu: Oooo we need to talk to Emily then. She sounds like a traitor!
Daniel Ravens: Yes Ansatsu we shall. *points to Sarah* She really is tight lipped tonight. Very odd! I think we need to talk to the girl by the dock here first.
Rei: Let’s kill her
Daniel raised a brow. We might need to Rei.
The girl was not at the dock. We wondered where she might have gone. A man was watching out so we approached him. He mostly stared at us suspiciously. We figured a man so intent must have seen something.
Moxxi: Can you help us?
Cadwell the Watchman: Maybe but you would have to tell me more than that.
Queen Mum rolled her eyes.
Katrina: We are looking for a woman who was standing here.
Cadwell the Watchman: The woman wearing the terra cotta robes?
Silent Death added, “She stank like herbs.”
Cadwell the Watchman: There is a gaggle of them just north from here. Several meet up there. Don’t trust them. I am sure they are up to no good. There is much unrest here.
Mad Dawg: Unrest? What is happening?
Cadwell the Watchman: We have been seeing a lot of plundering. Jewelry shop was robbed last week.
Men and women in those robes, bad lot I say.
He had nothing more to say so we ventured north and found a couple dressed in the alchemy robes that Algenon liked his students to wear. Ansatsu pointed it out to us when we were just out of their earshot.
Mad Dawg commented sarcastically “they are trying to blend in!”
We thought this strange after visiting Sarah and hearing that they were trying to blend in. Could Sarah have been responsible for the robberies? I doubted it. She seemed genuinely worried. Could these people be using the prodigies as a guise?
Clym asked right out. Who are you?
The Alchemy Prodigy*looked about* we are disciples of the Master
I tried to trick them up, you mean Algenon?
Alchemy Prodigy: Oh we do not speak of her to outsiders. Go Away!
Gideon caught the word her? He asked: Alchemy Master is Algenon, a man. Your master is a woman?
Alchemy Prodigy: We are *glances outside* prodigy but not the one you want. Different Master I suppose. You don’t want us.
Daniel Asked: Where is your Master now?
Alchemy Prodigy: Oh she said something about meditating by the pond, and putting someone to rest.
Mad Dawg: let’s drown ‘em, if they are true prodigies they will be able to breathe just fine!
Daniel: That would be true if they had their potions with them Mad Dawg!
Alchemy Prodigy: Scram! We are not of whom you seek.
Moxxi: such hostility
Mad Dawg: You gonna let them talk to you like that Daniel?
Moxxi: something isn’t right
Daniel: I agree Moxxi and Mad Dawg yes, for now. We will take care of them later. They may be our jewelry thieves. We need more evidence.
Daniel Ravens: We seek the prodigy. I have a bad gut feeling, let’s go to the Pond.
Moxxi: but who to trust?
Daniel Ravens: I do not trust them.
Moxxi: me either
Daniel Ravens: one said something about putting someone to rest. Don’t Algenon’s prodigies meditate by a pool?
Moxxi: at the pond?
Silent Death: something is wrong here. Only Sarah and Emily could make water breath so it is strange that the other Prodigy is going to the pond.
Hatsheput: this one never made a water breath potion.
Daniel Ravens: remember she just stayed by the dock.
Daniel Ravens: look for any clues
Hatshepsut: we will!!!
Queen Mum was pointing to the ground “earrings; these should not be here
Moxxi: this must refer to the missing jewelry!
Ansatsu: They did talk about jewelry thieves
Daniel Ravens: they look expensive
Daniel Ravens: *nod*
Moxxi: *wants them like any female would*
Daniel Ravens: Moxxi, I think you are related to Xarra…
Moxxi: oh dear! Look there are more, another pair of earrings and a very expensive pearl necklace. We should return them to the store.
Daniel: Seems that whoever took these was also going near the pond. That ties the theft and the “prodigies that were still robed I think”
Just then Ansatsu came running from the copse of trees.
Ansatsu: Daniel The scroll
Daniel Ravens: *looks closely* this is very old paper. This must be Algenon’s.
Ansatsu: I would think so. Maybe it’s from his books?
Moxxi: perhaps you better keep that Daniel
Daniel Ravens: I think someone involved in the heist must also be involved with Natasha and Algenon
Daniel Ravens: nice pearls
Moxxi: very: *admires*
Daniel Ravens: my step sister always loved pearls
Mad Dawg: *has all the evidence he needs*
Moxxi: *step sister??* Daniel was off to business
Daniel Ravens: Maybe Emily saw something. Did you see her near the pool?
Elyograg: indeed. She’s by the pond.
Daniel Ravens: let’s talk to her
Clym of Clough: she keeps scratching. Says she has spiders under her skin.
Hatsheput was already there holding Emily as Emily rambled. “It is not good” said Hatsheput “but some if it makes sense.”
Emily the Alchemy Prodigy: *scratches arm* Cries out NO! Leave us alone. Don’t hurt him *with an absent look* I never trusted her
Daniel Ravens: *waves hand in front*
Ansatsu: It’s like they are all under someone else’s control
Daniel Ravens: I think so. Emily we are here to help, so speak to us
Daniel Ravens: who did you not trust
Emily the Alchemy Prodigy: I am not going to drink it. I do not trust you. *stares off into space*
Daniel Ravens tried to encourage more information from poor Emily “Drink? No don’t drink it. This is not good.”
Emily the Alchemy Prodigy: It burns please stop. I am choking.
Moxxi: who made you drink it?
Daniel Ravens: I am thinking the other Prodigy
Emily the Alchemy Prodigy: Where did those lights come from? Psychedelic! *scratches arms* How did these spiders get under my skin?
Daniel Ravens: oh yes she is drugged. Natasha would have needed help, an accomplice. I am thinking the other Prodigy had the ability to make the water breathe potion. She just lied about it.
Moxxi: oh no!
Emily the Alchemy Prodigy: I always hide when the trade caravan passes by.
Emily the Alchemy Prodigy: they get pillaged you know
Blueberry Muffin: dig the spiders out!
Emily the Alchemy Prodigy: Cries out – NO! Leave us alone. Don’t hurt him. Rioters are everywhere. Go Away!
Daniel Ravens: Algenon is in danger but we need a water breath to get to him
Elyograg: there is an almost empty bottle hidden in the water in that pond.
Mad Dawg: *hands Emily a dagger* this should help!
Daniel glared at Mad Dawg.
We jumped into the pond and tried to swim to where Elyograg had seen the potion. The pond was filled with slimy seaweed that tangled our limbs and tried to pull us down. I was grateful I had rubbed my dagger with an oiled cloth before leaving my home. I pulled it from my sleeve and hacked my way down to the glass bottle. I took a small sip and continued to the grotto.
When I got through the secret entrance Daniel was whispering. “Careful Nat might be here.” We walked up the hall and into the cavern leaving small puddles of water as we went. As we entered the large space we saw Algenon standing by his four poster bed. This was unusual as he had always hidden from us before.
Algenon: Where are my books? *grin* they are interesting books.
Daniel Ravens: *waves hand in front* He is glassy eyed too!
Ansatsu: He’s drugged too
Daniel Ravens: yes Ansatsu, this is very bad news
Algenon: It is hidden in the book, you won’t find it. The flavour, yes page 17 in the book
Daniel Ravens: what is hidden in the book?
Algenon: Keep the little ones safe. I won’t let them hurt the children
Daniel Ravens: you never let them hurt the children
Clym of Clough: He’s delirious
Ansatsu: Look at his glasses Daniel
Algenon: have you seen my glasses?
Daniel Ravens: yes we are looking for them
Clym of Clough: they’re broken and on the bed
Algenon: I am told the human races are rioting. Dress like the rest. Blend in. Don’t look important.
Daniel Ravens: see he told Sarah
Algenon: have you seen my glasses?
Queen Mum: aye they are on the bed
Daniel Ravens: *Points they are there Algenon*
Daniel Ravens: by the bed
Daniel Ravens: *helps put them on Algenon* there now you can see us. You are up and out of bed. Are you feeling better? You still look frail.
Algenon: it is hidden in the book you won’t find it.
Daniel Ravens: *frown*
Gideon: page 17
Ansatsu: Where’s the book?
Daniel Ravens: I think who ever drugged Emily came here after
Elyograg: looks at empty bottle and plate
Algenon: Daniel, help her!
Daniel Ravens: help her?
Algenon: it is hidden in the book you won’t find it.
Daniel Ravens: I will find it
Algenon: Luludja was right.
Daniel Ravens: Luludja?
Algenon: Save me Daniel! I feel so weak
Daniel Ravens: I will Algenon. We all will.
Moxxi: yes we will!
Daniel Ravens: we promised you
Daniel Ravens: *nod*
Algenon: she took it. Natasha! Natasha *grimaces*
Ansatsu: I suspected she was behind it
Daniel Ravens: *grimaces*
Daniel Ravens: you should be in bed
Algenon: Where is Sarah with my soup? That does not look like my soup
Algenon: the flavour, yes page 17 in the book.
Daniel Ravens: oh someone gave you something that tastes like one of your potions?
Algenon: I won’t let them hurt the children
Daniel pulled us aside and explained Sarah and Emily are the children. It was once Luludja and me!
Algenon: Yes! Yes! Find Luludja!
Daniel Ravens: he needs rest. I think this will wear off.
Moxxi: *hopes so*
Daniel Ravens: whoever gave it to him did not plan to kill him. They must need him for something else.
Ansatsu: No they wanted information
Daniel Ravens: or befuddle him so they could snoop about
Elyograg: we need to find this mans books?
Daniel Ravens: yes we do
Daniel Ravens: we have a few things to investigate
Daniel Ravens: first the jewelry theft, someone must tell Amonos or Captain Bob and have them look into it. It happened in town; they are responsible.
Ansatsu: We will tell him tomorrow
Queen Mum, Smolen, and Mad Dawg all volunteered to ensure the guard was informed.
Daniel Ravens: also Algenon’s books. We must watch for any signs of them and find out what is page 17.
Also he mentioned Luludja. Do any of you know her?
We all shook our heads no but Elyograg suggested that it sounded like a Gypsy name.
Daniel Sighed. You have been loyal to me so I will share this with you. She is another of Algenon’s ermmm wards? I think she was a gypsy. I will tell you a story.
Long ago when I was with the shadow dwellers, one of the Elders brought in a young girl. She was my age, 17ish, and she had a gift of foresight. The shadow dweller that caught her treated her poorly even by their standards. Her name was Luludja.
Silent Death piped in “Poor girl”
Daniel nodded “one day Algenon came to me not to make a potion, he knew I couldn’t, but for help.
He gave me an invisibility potion and asked me to ermm do a task I was very good at. Stealthily go to the girl. Then I was to give Luludja the potion and sneak her out. She was guarded by a young shadow dweller and several traps. I dispensed of them all quickly and painlessly. We took her and hid her in the mountains. Algenon and I fed her. Once she was stronger we took her to a town, *thinks* Buc’s Den, where she could hide easily. We took care of her for years but I left to serve Queen Dawn and lost track of her.
Mad Dawg was shocked, “you abandon her?”
Daniel looked sad “well it is hard to explain. I felt that the realm needed me and I could serve it in a way a Queen could not. About Lulu, I really liked her but, well; I think we were jealous of each other
Elyograg: choices are hard sometimes
Daniel continued “see when Algenon was with Lulu, he was not teaching me and when he was with me he was not helping her. If we were really sister and brother: I would say sibling rivalry.
Silent Death: the plot thickens
Daniel Ravens: so tomorrow you find Amonos or Bob and tell them of the robbery
Moxxi: we will!
Elyograg: Yes, Tomorrow!
I will see if I can find Luludja. I will call you on the wind when I have more information. Then Daniel perked up. Psst call her lulu she hates it
Mad Dawg: yep, Lulu it is!
Elyograg: Very well
Diamond grinned I had a little puppy named lulu when I was little!
Daniel laughed. A sound I had not heard very often. Ah I like that. I cannot wait to see Lulu and tell her of your puppy! Oh but I am not a 17 year old anymore and she may be dead. It has been a very long time.
How many here are over 400 years old?
Elyograg: why can’t I steal any of this?
Daniel Ravens: this is Algenon’s home. We are on contract with him. We do not steal from our employer as it tends to be bad for repeat business.
We all left eager to find Amonos or Bob.
The following day Moxxi reluctantly returned the jewelry to the shop. The shop owner was very pleased as they were the valuable ones but was concerned that cheaper ones were also missing. We searched the City and Palace and found many bandits and thieves.
We discovered they were working for the robed ones in the south of town. After returning the jewelry we regained from the thugs, we felt we had enough evidence to apprehend the alchemy prodigy posers.
We grabbed them and dragged them to a holding cell in the courtroom where the await trial.
Keep alert and watch for any strange or peculiar comings and goings that needs reporting at the next meeting of the Sleuth Guards on Thursday, January 26th.