A Checkered History: Part 5

Davi arrived first, to find that a flock of gawking and chattering people had already formed. He hollered for a little bit, telling the crowd to disband, before simply forcing his way through. The group loosened a little bit at the sight of the at least somewhat prepared officer and fell silent. Another officer, younger even than he, ran up to him and began to speak rapidly.

“I was just doing my normal routine patrol when I found it! Please, sir, I, I didn’t know what to do! I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to do,”

Davi laid his hands on the boy’s shoulders, and did his best to calm him down as Zambor and Drivena caught up. He dismissed the boy, ordered the crowd to back away, and surveyed the scene. There was blood, and lots of it, a foul copper stench arising from the blue liquid. Judging by the shape it had formed it had sprayed, and the victim’s head was missing. The boy wasn’t wrong to have called a 0F. This was definitely a checkered knight attack.

Davi pulled out his radio and confirmed the 0F, saying that they needed an investigator to come to the scene. While he argued with whoever had answered on the other side, Drivena sulked away from the others. She had heard gossip about attacks like these happening throughout Tajlynd, but had never actually paid too much attention, and had most certainly never seen the pictures in the news. Newspapers were much too wordy to hold her attention for long. Zambor, on the other hand, was mortified. She had never witnessed an attack like this.

As soon as pre-automobile technology could allow a detective arrived, dressed in a long coat and layers of heavy fabric. After pushing his way through the once again enclosing crowd, he slid up the lengths of his arms heavy rubber gloves, and reached inside the neck stub of the victim. For a few minutes he sloshed around the cavity, until at last his hand settled upon something squishy, in a different way than the inside of a neck is normally squishy, something that he regretted knowing. He pulled his arm back, and out slid what looked like hundreds of tiny fish eggs, encased in a translucent, gelatinous goo. Davi sunk his face into his hands out of worry, Zambor had willfully stopped watching when they had first arrived, and Drivena had become distracted by the many abandoned market stands at the site.

“We have eggs,” declared the detective sorrowfully. A murmur travelled throughout the crowd, and the mention of eggs did catch Drivena’s attention. That was, interesting. As she headed back to the crowd, unattended coins weighing down her pockets, a glint from the edge of an alleyway caught her eye. Drivena stopped for a moment. It was probably nothing. She’d always searched the alleyways for discarded jewelry or other valuables, but even the most carelessly rich weren’t so callous towards their belongings. Although, it could be exposed wiring, and that was worth something. She bent down and leaned in closer. Upon inspection, it could be observed that the glint was not from metal wiring, but in fact was from the teeth of a severed head. A severed head that she recognized. Drivena bolted up into a standing position, and looked over in Davi’s direction. He had his arms crossed and was looking at the ground in contemplation, but eventually he looked behind himself and spotted her.

“Get over here!” she mouthed, motioning for him to come. He did, at a slightly brisk pace.

“What?!” he asked, which sounded more cross than he had intended.

“I found the head,” whispered Drivena.

Davi’s eyes widened as she pointed at it. It was partially, and poorly, wrapped up in a piece of cloth. So poorly she could recognize it.

“Why would a checkered knight wrap up the head like this?” he asked. “Was it trying to hide it?”

Drivena cocked an eyebrow. “Are they able to do that? From what I’ve heard they seem pretty simple minded.”

“Well, that’s the general consensus. But there’ve been reports recently. Of organization. Unverified, though. I need to go tell the detective.”

“Wait!” Whispered Drivena, but he was already gone. It didn’t happen to her very often, but Drivena knew from experience that it was never a good idea to be found with a severed head. She receded deeper into the alley, squeezing into a crack between two buildings. The detective was there for a while, long enough for the sunset to end and night to begin. As soon as she heard boots leave the nearly dry stone street, she peeked out. Davi was still there, but the detective had left. Cautiously, she peeled herself from the wall she had been laying against and emerged from the shadows.

“I recognize this man,” she said.

Davi’s eyes widened as the words came out of her mouth. “What! How!? Who, who is he!?”

“He’s a servant,” Drivena said, looking down at the wrappings where the head used to be, meaning that the detective was apparently just walking down the streets carrying someone’s head in his arms.

“How do you know that?”

“You told me not to incriminate myself earlier today, Davi.”

“Sorry,” said Davi as he started to head over to a part of the street lit by the fire of one of the street lights. There Zambor sat, still and silent, looking at where the body had been. She had taken her hat off, revealing her full albeit straggly long black hair.

“It’s getting late,” said Davi as he looked down at her. “You should get indoors.”

Being spoken to snapped Zambor out of her gruesome murder based stupor, and she sprang to her feet, looking assertive as she stared down Davi.

“I am Zambor, student of Kazir’s University of General Magic, and I am on a mission to recover an important piece of Aegerothian history lost long ago!”

“There’s a body. We don’t have time to go on a treasure hunt.”

Zambor assertiveness turned to anger, and she stopped talking, just staring in a failed attempt to look intimidating. Drivena tapped Davi on the shoulder.

“Davi, the dead guy worked for Higorin.”

“The noble?”

“Yes. I think he spotted me when I was, outside, walking down the street,” she closed her eyes and took a deep breath before saying the next part. “With something that belonged to Higorin.

“What was it Drivena?”

“It was some cheap iron trinket.”

Davi stared at her with judgement, but Zambor had perked up.

“Alright, look, I don’t normally steal whatever crap I find.”

“Yes you do.”

“Alright, sometimes I do. But this one was in a safe, and I wasn’t going to leave empty handed. It’s the thing that Kajol, no, Kajulan wanted.”

“We’re going to need to talk to Higorin then!” exclaimed Davi.

“Well, let’s go.” Drivena had already turned around when Davi corrected her.

“We can’t just walk into a Noble’s house. We need a warrant for someone like that.”

“Just write one up. Now let’s go!”

“I can’t write a warrant. You’ve spent enough time in police custody to know that.”

“Then let’s just break in! In fact, I’m pretty sure the door’s lock has already been broken. We can just walk in, rough him up a little bit! Maybe dangle him over his balcony, which he may or may not have.”

“Alright,” sighed Davi as he brushed his hand against his forehead.

“Really?” asked Drivena. She was sometimes able to convince those of below average intelligence to go along with what she wanted, but it usually took a little more effort.

“Yes. That detective didn’t listen when I pointed out the abnormalities of this case, and I refuse to be responsible for any deaths. Let’s go.”

Drivena smiled. “Alright, I know where he lives.”

As the two left, Zambor spoke up.

“I’ll go too!”

“Why?” Asked Davi, eyeing her with suspicion.

“Why not?” Replied Zambor rhetorically, not wanting to tell Davi anything after being so rudely dismissed.

“Okay!” said Drivena blindly as she turned to leave. Davi followed, but less optimistically.