Chasey’s steps slowed as she saw a bloated hand emerging from a waterlogged sleeve that hung over the side of the trough. She knew what she would find, but although she did not want to see it, she looked anyway. Yes, there he was. Sturrin had been submerged in the water trough, likely for several days. His mouth and eyes were open wide, and his hair drifted peacefully in the water behind his head. She felt the urge to run and pretend she never saw him. But so too did she feel like running to the constable to report the obvious murder. No, not the constable. She’d tell her father. He would know what to do.
She was back in the tavern a few minutes later and found her father. “Papa!” she called as she rushed to where he stood beside an empty, yet dirty, table. “The old man, Sturrin, is dead!” she whispered frantically to him, so as not to alert the other customers. “He was drowned in an alleyway water trough!” Ritov’s eyes grew wide. He had been fond of the old man and it pained him to deny Sturrin his favorite drink. But he was expected to uphold the law as well, and the decision had been made.
His eyes skimmed the patrons in the tavern. An old couple would prove no danger, nor the bard in the corner. A few rowdy laborers shared a table but they seemed the decent sort. “Come, child” he urged. “Show me where.”
Chasey and Ritov rushed out the door but only the bard noticed. It was her job to notice the world around her and turn it into song. “Songs are best created from the rumor mill of others,” she intoned as she sat back and finished her drink.
When Chasey and Ritov arrived at the water trough, Sturrin was gone. “He was just here!” she exclaimed. Ritov searched around the alley. He believed his daughter. All he found were two silver coins – the price of the Impaler.


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