The Macabre Waltz

Here and Gone Again; A Halfling Tale of Intrigue and Mystery.

Not'in like a good 'omecomin', eh?

Tavick’s-blood’ee-Landin’..

Who’d ‘a fucking thought The Cat would eva’ haf’ ta’ crawl ‘is way through the gutta’ again… An’ alone, ’n fact. Why if I could just get my hands on…..

Falco sighes deeply

No matta’… Soon enouf’, reckon.

S’pose I should count me blessin’s… Not every day ya’ find ‘a place ta’ lay low so easy.

They ‘all themselves “The Oriffin Agency.” Ain’t that right fancy. Neva’ ‘eard of ’em, ’n just ta’ add anotha’ blessin’; I don’t think they ’eard ’a me.

What’s betta’, I even got me ‘a right fine gang ’a throwaways that might not go screamin’ at ta’ first sight ‘a blood. Blessin’s indeed… ’Specially if they ’an be ’a use.

That foreman, “Carric,” ain’t made me ‘a fan, though. Right wanka’, that one. Falco spits on the ground

Just ta’ make sure we knew which end was ta’ point’ee one, ‘e ’ad me ’n the crew go do ’is pest work in ’is cella’. Killin’ rats? Was ’e serious?

Eitha’ way, we did what ‘e asked. My lit’le ragtag group did alright, sure.

Neva’ worked wit’ a ‘forged before, but ’e seemed to know ’ow ta’ fight, though ‘a bit loose ’n the ’ead, ta’ be plain… I’m not one ta’ knock a ‘bot for bein’ ’a ’bot, though.

Got ‘a righteous lit’le stumpy wit’ quite ‘a mouf’ on ‘im. I think I’m gonna like him… Falco grins widely

Can’t fa’get the fey, eitha’. She got some powa’ in ‘er, sure. ’Ope she saves it for the bad’ies.

‘Who ’a my missin’… Right, the humie… ‘E looks like ’e ’as worlds ’a thoughts ’n ’is ’ead. Some’ins tellin’ me ta’ watch ’im..

Afta’ cleanin’ up our mess an’ no soona’ had we caught ‘a wink ’a sleep, we got ’a dying girl bleedin’ on ‘our doorstep. Ah, Tavick’s, always bringin’ back the memories…

Turn’s out, ‘er names Lyanna Tal. She’s ‘a reporta’, ‘n a right good one, reckon, consid’n someone went thro’ the trouble ‘a stabbin’ ‘er. I got ’a bad feelin’ ‘bout this. So much fa’ stayin’ low…

The humie, stumpy, ‘n fey girl all went ta’ the post, while me n’ the ‘forged split off ta’ track the reporta’s would-be murd’ra. We followed the trail ‘a ’er blood to ’n alley, only ta’ find ourselves ambushed by some blood’ee fuckin’ Grobas! Of all the… Falco curses and spits twice on the ground

Luck be ‘a lady, as us’all; made it out wit’ me inside’s ‘n place. The otha’s got ‘a lead at the post, which ’ad us runnin’ up and down the skyway. Flyin’ ‘round ’n search ’a information is all well ’n good, but dealin’ wit’ Grobas mid-flight is anotha’ story entirely! Alit’le return on the fava’ they did me ‘afor seemed only right, so the ’forged ’n me took ta’ the sky ta’ say ‘ello. Managed ta’ get one of their flyin’ disks before the rest decide they don’t like me standin’. When I come too, I’m on the blood’ee deck of the skycoach wit’ stumpy’s ‘ands all ova’ me. I’m grateful, course, but a lit’le humiliate’d…

Nothin’ could ’ave prepared me for what we learned next…

Ms. Tal seemed ta’ fancy ‘erself an orc named Dolgruf. Not just, ’ey were makin’ some
prett-y lewd pictures, see, so I kept a few in case they were needed. Ms. Tal seems like quite the lit’le minx, yeah.

Afta’ the fey girl made nice wit’ an orc in cogs’, we found our way to Dolgruf’s, an’ even the greeny himself. ‘E wasn’t too ‘appy to see us, but ’e played nice wit’ some convincin’ ‘n gave us ’a chat. Turns out Ms. Tal ’as a secret or two ta’ tell…

Just when things are startin’ ta’ get interst’in, they get very interst’in. Ms. Tal seems ta’ be back wit’ the livin’ ‘n we got ta’ have a word wit’ the hussy. She says she ‘as ’n informant from the Emerald Claw. ’Eard a lit’le ‘bout them b’fore; bombs ‘n such nasty things. I think we’re in a bit ova’ our ’eads, ’ere…

What’s even betta’, we’ve got to go meet ‘em. ’N where do we get to meet ’em? Blood-ee fuckin’ Fallen. Fan-blood-ee-tastic.

A’for we go, we each split ta’ try ‘n loosen some tongues. I happen ’cross a right comfy lit’le place called Little Wonder, not far from the agency, fact. Got a nice lit’le girl named Talana to get me in to see the Lady with a flash ’a me smile and a flip of me coin. ’Er eyes remind me ’a someone I knew once ’round ’ere…

The Lady didn’t ‘ave much info for me, but I ain’t unhappy ‘bout findin’ it. I ‘ave a feelin’ I’ll be back ’for long.

Afta’ my alit’le trip to the brothel, we ‘eaded out t’wards Fallen, my wit sure we’re walkin’ in ta’ ‘a trap. Low ’n b’hold, my ol’ bud’y Daask came ta’ see The Cat. The greeny brought ‘a right big group ’a friend’s wit’ ‘im, too; lucky I didn’t come alone, eitha.

I ‘ad forgotten how ’ard a greeny can fight, ’spec’ly one Daask’s size. Wit’ a lit’le timely ‘elp from Miss Emerald Claw, we managed a’ight. Now they might think twice ‘for comin’ afta’ Falco “The Cat” Lindenbrook, sure ’nuff.

Afta’ ‘earin’ ‘er out, I managed ta’ get stumpy off ‘a ’er. She kept talkin’ ’bout the Maze, like we were mad ’nouf to listen. I ’ad ’eard stories of the place, but it was just a silly urban legend. ..Right?

Imagine ‘ow right surprised I was ta’ find out it’s right ‘ere in me own city! Full ’a tricks ’n traps, much ta’ my d’light. Me tools ‘ad been itchin’ fa’ use, ‘nd I was all kinds ’a chuffed ta’ find it.

Gotta’ ‘and it to stumpy for findin’ the place. ’E knows how to meet the right folk.

The place was ‘a blood-ee mind fuck; the further we walked, the less progress we made. T’was until we noticed the map on the walls. Wit’ me keen eye, I made out the pat’ern, only loosin’ site ‘a our location once. No replacement fa’ good senses, reckon.

We ended up in ‘a room filled with bobbles, hanging from the ceilin’. ’Adn’t seen nothin’ like it a’for, ‘n only knew what they did when our fey friend managed to ’it one. I could tell some ’a my part-y wasn’t doin’ too well, ‘n only worse afta’ ‘ese bobbles went off. Afta’ a second to gatha’ meself, I went ta’ work on it, fig’rin’ out what to do as I went. S’if that weren’t a’nuff, we ended up wit’ some greenies afta’ us. S’fine wit’ me, seeing as I didn’t want my mates ta’ get soft on me.

Afta’ the first, the rest was child’s play for a masta’ thief; none givin’ more than a glance ‘n a few tweeks wit’ me tools. ’Ad not for the humie, the trap may not ’a gone off at all…

Once cleared, we soon came upon the humie we been lookin’ for, ‘cept there was a slight problem; ’e wasn’t breathin’. Only clue we ‘ad was a giant map ’a Korrvaire wit’ some import’ant lookin’ places point’d out. My mates ‘ere say it’s for transport, but ain’t none but daft on it. I looks like it’s got some powa’ to it, by the looks ‘a it, but this is way beyond a lit’le halfling thief.

Falco…. what in the blood-ee ’ell ’ave you got yourself into….

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WaywardProphet

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