“What do you mean she wasn’t seen leaving?” Cronos said, his voice dark and dangerous.
The hotel attendant leaned back in her seat, “Sir please, I am only telling you what I know. She didn’t pass through here this afternoon sir. I have been on duty since the noon bell.”
“Cronos, we did not see her leave our rooms either.” Vilhylm said, putting a placating hand on the younger man’s shoulder. “Thank you for your assistance miss.”
“She knows something I know she does!” Cronos snarled, “Where’s the maid? What about the drugged wine I found in her cup?”
“Drugged wine?” The attendant squeaked, her eyes going wide in shock.
“Come on Cronos, we should find Tryst.” Vilhylm’s hand tightened and he pulled Cronos away. “He will know what to do, he knows this city.”
“Hell with that, I’m going back to the room. Just in case we missed something.” Cronos said, running a hand through his hair. His voice became subdued, “Or if she comes back.”
Vilhylm looked at him for a moment before turning back to the nervous attendant. “Pardon me miss, but you wouldn’t know where I could the chapter house of Gode is would you? I need to find my companion and brother in arms Tryst Te’Chern.”
“I think it’s about thirty miles from here.” A familiar voice came from the door, swiftly followed by Tryst himself. The man was sweaty, but had a smile on his face as he entered, still wearing his armor. “Oh it was good to be among those men and women again. Their strength, their confidence …” His voice trailed off as he took in their faces.
“What’s wrong?” He asked, brows knitting in concern.
“Callindra was taken. From her bath.” Cronos said in a flat tone.
“Cronos, not here.” Vilhylm said, glancing around at the growing number of curious bystanders.
“Nobody saw anything.” Cronos continued, “Or so they say. The maid is gone too.”
Tryst’s eyes narrowed. “Vilhylm is right Cronos, we need to discuss this in private.”
The priest led his brothers back to their room, a grim look making his chiseled features harsh. Once they were inside with the door closed and locked, he turned to them and crossed his arms over his armored chest.
“What is this about our sister being taken? How did you let it happen?” He shook his head, “No I didn’t mean that, I’m sorry. Tell me everything.”
“We don’t KNOW anything.” Cronos said, “She was just gone. I mean after an hour we started to worry when nobody came out, we went in and there wasn’t a sign of Callindra or the maid.”
“Nothing suspicious at all?” Tryst asked.
“There was something in her wine.” Said Vilhylm, “A drug of some sort.”
A slight noise made them all spin to confront a frightened looking girl who had apparently just climbed through their third story window. Although dressed in skirts and a loosely tied bodice, the prettily plump Tallie had managed the feat without apparent difficulty. Cronos snarled and reached for his sword but the maid put up her hands.
“Hey, peace! I seen where th bastards took er ye ken?” Her eyes were wide with sincerity, “Oi, I only did it ‘cause I owed sommat a turn and th shite said they ain’t gonna hurt er. How’s I supposed ta know she’s on th lam?”
“You believe their lies about her?” Cronos spat, half drawing his sword before Tryst could get a hand on it and push it back into the scabbard.
“You have some explaining to do young lady.” Said Vilhylm, his voice deadly serious. “Surviving the next few minutes relies quite heavily on your ability to do that explaining swiftly and accurately.”
“Now brothers, she would hardly have come back if she was guilty would she?” Tryst said, “Why exactly did you come back miss…”
“Me rats call me Tallie. Name’s Tallisk.” She sighed, “I dinne spect folk wi family ta get me. I ain’t had shite but wha I took an tha’s next ta naught. Jest tryin ta keep body an spirit on th prime. Vex said ta do a lil job, drug a flagon a wine an play nice an there’d be a fat purse in it fer me an me rats.”
“Uh…” Cronos looked at her as though she’d been speaking Goblin or Orcish.
“She has been living on the streets. She has much younger friends, possibly family but not likely, and she steals things for a living.” Tryst said, “This was a job that offered lucrative payment for whoever passes for the rotten piece of dung that runs her part of the city, apparently a person named Vex.”
Vilhylm and Cronos both looked at the priest, Cronos with his mouth agape and Vilhylm with a raised eyebrow. Tryst ignored them both and focused on the nervous girl. “Go on. Where did they take my sister?”
“She ain’t yer blood.” Tallisk said, “Nae more’n they’s yer blood.”
“Where. Is. Callindra.” Vilhylm seemed to get larger as he spoke, his aspect more threatening, becoming hunchbacked and barrel chested. Arms the size of tree trunks nearly split the loose sleeves of his robe and when he looked at Tallisk his face was covered by a carved wooden mask.
“Ahhhh shite!” The girl backed up until she smacked against the wall. Cronos looked grimly at her as Tryst took his hand from his brother’s arm, allowing the younger man to draw his sword. “Th Guild! Th Hammer fightin hall grounds in th merc district! I saw ‘em take th girl inna carriage, there’s a panel in th bath what goes down ta th stables!”
“Show us.” Tryst said, his voice cold.
“I cn show ya th panel but it’s good’s me own death if they see me wi ya in th streets. Vex ain’t stupid an I ain’t riskin me rats.” She was still scared but crossed her arms resolutely. “Them kids ain’t earned what they got. I ain’t gonna get ‘em killed so do yer worst.”
Cronos noticed that the girl had positioned herself next to the window while appearing to back away from Vilhylm in fear. His warning cry came too late, Tallisk executed a smooth backward shoulder roll over the window sill and vanished from sight. They rushed to the window but when they looked out the girl was nowhere to be seen.