Feb. 16th, 2013

Twenty

Feb. 16th, 2013 11:11 am
“I only have direct knowledge of the end of the affair, you must understand,” Tyrol says. “I try to familiarize myself with important visitors and frequent guests, but I can’t greet everyone who comes to our town. This… gentleman… may have caused something of a stir when he arrived, but it only reached my ears after the fact, and who knows how it grew in the meantime?”

“Who was he?”

“He was an aldic fellow… dwarven, and slightly bandy-legged. He was driving an oxcart laden with trunks to the west.”

“Trunks of what?” I ask.

“The trunks were the cargo,” Tyrol says. “They had some gravel or something in the bottoms to keep them from sliding around, but they were fine carved oaken chests. They do have good craftsmen in those parts.”

“Did anyone inspect them?”

“That’s where we come to the first sour note,” Tyrol says. “He arrived in the evening, just before the gates were closed. Our customs man went missing that night. The visitor… a Mr. Heizer… says that he waited by the customs house and no one came out, so he went to the gate and hailed the guards there. They asked where his pass was and he said there was no one to give him one, so they sent a man around to investigate and found the customs house empty, but with a fire still burning and a kettle cooking over it.”

“And they let the traveler go in?”

“He was alone, no more than prudently armed, and his papers showed him just passing through… if he’d been trying to sneak anything into the city, doing away with the customs man and then calling attention to it would have been the worst way to do it,” Tyrol says. “The customs seal was sitting out on a table, he could have stamped his own pass and been inside the gates with no one suspecting a thing.”

“It wouldn’t exactly have been the perfect crime, though,” I say. “The guards would have remembered him as the last one to have come through, when the inspector turned up missing.”

“True,” Tyrol says. “But I suppose that’s my point… it would have been senseless for him to have done it, either way. In any case, the guards weren’t thinking foul play. There was no sign of a struggle, just no sign of the man. They checked the dwarf’s papers, opened his boxes, and sent him on his way.”

“Did they open all the boxes?” I ask.

“You know… somehow, I very much doubt that they did.”

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theonecalledwander

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