Days of the Dead 6 - Janelee

The screams grew so constant, they started haunting Adla in her sleep and filling her head with dark thoughts. Why would that ragged little woman-child choose sit there day and night, under her window, shouting and wailing about a beach and a fog, and a crime? The cleric felt she was there to get her. She felt that, in her hallucinations, the vagabond was trying to tell her something true and terrible. Discreetly, without attracting any attention to herself, she tried to learn more about the character.
The tavern keeper talked about her with a mix of annoyance and pity. Janelee, for that was her name, had been around since she was a girl. At some point, she had got herself in some trouble with Lord Laricen, from Marali, when that dodgy Vestoss Erund, or something, hid in the quiet city of Andris. Poverty and hunger had affected her development, said the tailor, but, somehow, she had been hired for some jobs before. At some point, the villagers thought she would make it, as a rogue, of course, but no one would expect her to get a completely honest profession. “There is only so much we can change about our own future,” seemed to be the motto of the tolerant tailor. Janelee’s small body and complete lack of fear, her ability to endure under harsh conditions made her a very talented thief, able to sneak through narrow passages where adult men wouldn’t be able to go. Who were her bosses? The tailor wouldn’t know, other than that one time she worked for the gentleman from Marali. Laricen Voress? No, Laricen was the other gentleman who used to come for the festival.

Estess Vorund. The name dawned on her one morning. Estess Vorund. But who was he? She decided to check the draft from all the letters her husband dictated to her. It took some patience to wait the right moment, but patience was her strongest virtue, after all. One day, when Jan Varouf was away for a Miners’ Tour to Duldrus, Adla reread every single word of the official and unofficial correspondence sent by her husband since their marriage. Why did she remember so little from the time before? She felt like she was a young woman in Brigobaen, and suddenly a married matron in Andris. Where did time go?

Some words, in some letters caught her attention, but she did not know what to make of them. She decided to dig further, to reach for those drawers from the time before the wedding, when she wasn’t her husband’s faithful secretary. Varouf spoke well but he didn’t write correctly. He had the chance of being at school for longer than the late Falov Ellychas, but, like him, he had difficulty with letters. So, often the drafts were written by Helda Grantham, when she had the time, or by anyone else available he could trust, from the temple cleric to Ambrose, the librarian. Eventually, at the bottom of a drawer filled with pointless missives about the Senate’s initiatives, she found a package, wrapped in leather and well tied with strings. “A. T.” was written on the surface. When she opened it, she found a dagger with her name engraved on it. At first, she thought Varouf was keeping the weapon to kill her one day, but then memories started pouring forth.

She remembered the dagger. She remembered Estess Vorund. She remembered Janelee. She remembered Marali, McTyr, the beach, that witch. She remembered the cloud of pipe smoke and the smell of magic in the air. She remembered even further back, she remembered infiltrating Brigobaen, she remembered befriending Mirithians, spying, patiently, in the south, waiting to strike in the north. She remembered her mission, she remembered her mistress, she remembered her cause, she remembered her Creed.

Suddenly, the random words from the letters made sense. Going through them again, she discovered that Doursa was on the run, and Skull was no longer safe. She was horrified to read about Estess being caught, as a spider, by a brutal “Lord” Jedd, from a guild of traitors in the Vale. “The coward would have never been able to do it if he were facing a man!” she thought, picturing a good use or two for her newly found old dagger.

She had to find what happened to Moira, she had to find her way back to Doursa. All that would take time, however, she would have to lay low and hatch a plan for the long run. So, she put everything back to its place in his husband’s drawer. Everything, except her dagger. That, she would take with her. And she had to find a way to silence the beggar. Janelee had always been a hired hand, anyway, and now she was a liability. If anyone decided to pay attention to her mad screams, Adla would be exposed.

How could a cleric kill? Thankfully, for her, she had some training in that area… and an idea.
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