The Man was satisfied. Everything was ready for when Sovos arrived in the Three Cities. He had been traveling throughout the parts of the city for a few days, making sure that gold was placed in the right hands. Hiring beggars, cutthroats, pirates, bandits and prostitutes to keep eyes out for him.
‘It’s a sound investment.’ he thought ‘If one of them sees him, I’ll be repaid a thousand-fold in the end’ ′
He thought of what he could do with his payment. Retirement came to mind and he dismissed it almost as quickly. He loved what he did far too much to stop now, and there was always someone to hunt.
He walked across the rope bridge to the Neighborhood district, to one of the only taverns in the city. Although it was near where everyone lived, it was the least busy and least noisy tavern in the city. There was no sign in the rusted iron brackets above the door, it looked as if someone had stolen it in ages past, and no one had bothered to replace it. He pulled up his hood out of habit and entered the tavern.
A large fire pit was in the center of the floor, an unidentifiable carcass of an animal hung on the spit over the smoldering coals. Lanterns hung from chains above each empty table, they swayed in the breeze from the door.
A fat and greasy looking bartender glanced up.
“What’ll ya have?” he said in a gravelly voice
“A pint and a slice of whatever that is.” the Man gestured to the fire pit.
The bartender looked doubtful. “Show me yer money first.”
The man produced two copper coins from his purse with a clink, and held them between his fingers.
“Will this do?”
“It sound to me like that purse of yours is a might heavier than just two coppers.” The bartender said with a badly concealed grin.
“Just serve me and you may see another before the end of this night.”
The bartender turned and pulled a knife free from the counter top and cut off a piece of what looked to be the shoulder. He proceeded to make a show of drawing off a pint from a barrel into a pewter tankard.
“Here you are kind sir, please enjoy.”
The Man began to eat, it was edible at least. Spicy and juicy. He still couldn’t figure out what it was though.
He picked up the tankard and drank. He tasted the poison instantly. He swished it around for a moment, trying to identify it.
‘Hmm…..tastes like Nailgrass.’ he thought as he swallowed ‘Amateur, that won’t do it. Nailgrass is meant to finish off a person, the final nail in their coffin as it were’
Nailgrass was popular with wealthy people who stood to inherit a large amount of money from an elderly relative who just wouldn’t die.
He finished eating and left the empty tankard and plate at the table, as if he hadn’t noticed anything.
He turned to leave, the bartender was blocking the door with this girth.
“Right then, you just hand over all you have an’ I’ll give you the antidote.”
“Antidote? For what? I need no antidote for Nailgrass.”
The bartender looked shocked at this revelation. He thought his plan foolproof.
“Yes, you must be new to killing for money. If I were in your situation, I would have used Black Blood Sap or Ten Step Powder. Either would have killed me very effectively.”
The bartender fell to his knees and began to cry. “Forgive me! It’s just been so hard lately!”
“Well, I can’t exactly condemn you for trying to kill me for money, I do the same thing all the time. However, the fact that you tried and failed, is a problem.” The Man said as he drew his rapier.
“NO! Please my lord! I’ll do anything! Just spare my life!” he begged.
“There is nothing that you could do that would be of any use to me. My trap is set and I have no need of any further moving pieces.”
He stabbed the bartender high in the left side of his chest.
The Man bent over and looted the pathetic gasping form. All he got for the trouble were the two copper coins that he had paid earlier.
“So, it really has been hard lately.” he said as he stepped into the windy night.