The Raza Mishap


The Raza Mishap

Postby Zanthor » March 17th, 2019, 10:10:30 pm

It was a fine sunny afternoon in the busy market, with many Magi quickly moving around from one market stall to another. With Valentines day fast approaching merchants and customers alike were as busy as ever, preparing for the holiday. Most stalls were attuned to the holiday, garish pink and red decorations decorated most, the scent of flowers of all kinds wafted off of many, and it was hard to walk more than a few feet without running into a box of chocolates. Alethin had chosen to come to the market at this time, as all the hustle and bustle made it easy to move around unnoticed. Wearing his heavy black cloak with the hood up Alethin easily blended into the crowds, after all Magi sure do love with cloaks. Unlike most, he was not here for some trinket to appease his secret crush, or some grand gift to rekindle the a long lost passion. He was here because Kaiden Featherstone had set up an unassuming stall of his own in the market. Kaiden's stall was peddling much of the same wares as any other: flowers and chocolate, albeit with some of his own personal flair added into the mix, but if one knew the right questions to ask they could receive something a fair but more valuable. It was no secret to most that Kaiden had been messing around with the creation of new potions, ones with quite wondrous effects. Alethin had obtained some information on Kaiden's experimentations that had piqued his interest: love potions. The creation of the kind of love potions Alethin sought (not just some cheap red liquid that supposedly made people fall in love with you) had long since been outlawed, the results were unstable and wreaked havoc on local ecosystems. The potions were potent, and even in small quantities their effects were wide spread, causing wild creatures to become more aggressive, territorial, and virile. All in all the potions caused far more trouble than they were worth, leading to a complete ban on their research and production. Kaiden promised a perfect love potion, one that would significantly ease the breeding process, even the most unmanageable of creature pairs would become eager to breed once given a dose of the potion. A perfect product for Alethin to provide his customers on this coming Valentines day.

Alethin arrived before Kaiden's small stall. While it wasn't as impressively decorated as others there were many customers. By some arcane enchantment the flowers Kaiden was peddling danced around on their own. Some swayed back and forth as if being blown the the wind, others danced to unheard music, and a few opened and closed their petals as if they were speaking. On the other hand the chocolates he had set out wriggled around in a most unappealing fashion. There were far more chocolates left in his stall than flowers.

Having noticed his new customer Kaiden moved towards Alethin and called out, "Hello friend, and welcome! Don't you mind the chocolates now, they're perfectly normal! Just an unfortunate side effect from the flowers...I'll even cut you a deal, buy some flowers now and I'll sell you some chocolate for half price, sound good?"

"I'm looking to make a manticore." Alethin stated plainly, using the phrase he was given to gain access to Kaiden's less than legal goods, while ignoring the mans offer of half priced chocolate abominations.

"Ahh, I see," Kaidens voiced dropped low, as he moved even closer to Alethin, "Well, in that case I'll just need you to move behind my stall. I'll be with you in just a moment." Kaiden waved Alethin towards the back of his stall, Alething obeyed without question. As Alethin moved around crates full of goods yet to be set out, he felt a rustling under his robe. Adela sensed someone else among these crates. At first Alethin perked up, ready for anything, one had to be most careful when dealing with potentially illegal goods as it was always possible that it was a set up, but Adela quickly settled down, indicating that whoever it was they were not a threat.

"Hey Alethin!" a voice called out from the shadows, "Looks like we're matching today!" Talyn skulked his way out of the shadows, he was wearing a robe quite similar to Alethins. "So you here to help out good ol' Kaiden too? It's a good gig right? Lots of fun stuff going on here! He even gave me some of that creepy chocolate, for free! It might look like something that crawled out of a child's nightmare, but it sure is tasty! It melts in your mouth, all wriggly it tickles your throat, and still kinda squirms around when okay I admit it, it's not bad taste wise, but it's of the most disgusting things I ever put in my mouth!" Talyn had a rather pained expression on his face. "Just don't tell Kaiden I don't like it, I'm sure it would break his heart! He worked so hard to make those flowers so pretty, and I'm sure that chocolate didn't magic itself up, so having it all ruined just because his enchantment on the flowers was too powerful is just the worst, right? Um, where were we? Right right, yes...Work! What do you think you wanna help out with? Kaiden's been using me to get rid of his failed experiments. I don't know what it all is, and I don't ask questions. He said big things will be coming out of his research, and if I help him out I'll be the first to reap the benefits, that's good enough for me. Even though some of his failed experiments are just the nastiest smelling stuff I've ever encountered. And I once spent the night in a barn with a terribly ill gryphon, and boy do I mean ill...I'm pretty sure this noxious waste has burned away all the hairs in my nose, which is probably making my sense of smell even better, which sure isn't helping with all the noxious gas. What a vicious cycle! But, hey, I'm sure it'll all be worth it in the end, right?"

"Ahem," Kaiden cut in on the very one sided conversation, "Talyn, if you're quite done talking my customer's ears off, I need you to mind the stall while I do business, if you'd be so kind?"

"Customer? Ohhh yeah, that makes sense..." With a look of realization passing over his face Talyn composed himself, "Right! Of course you wouldn't be here for work, haha what was I thinking, well good luck with your transaction, I can't wait to see what you'll have in store in that there mysterious shop of yours! I'll just go deal with the other customers now, heh, at least it's not more failed concoctions!" Talyn quickly made his way to the front of the stall.

Giving Talyn a stern glance as he scurried away, Kaiden turned to Alethin. "Knowing you, and knowing the time of year, I assume you're here for my love potions." Kaiden said, getting straight down to business. "You are aware that they are not quite ready yet? I still need to work out all the kinks, so if you're looking for something for a Valentines sale you will find yourself a little bit out of luck."

"Of course," Alethin replied, "I am well aware of how far you have progressed on your experiments. While you may not have completed a full strength love potion, as far as my sources are aware, you should be able to provide me with something at about half potency, without fear of there being any unwanted side effects, correct?"

"Ah, you are quite the savvy business man aren't you?" Kaiden gave Alethin a warm smile, "In fact, you're just a savvy as I expected you to be! Why that's exactly why I made sure you received all that juicy information." Kaiden's smile resembled more of a triumphant grin as he continued, "The way I see is like this: I provide you with my half power love potions at no cost, you provide them to your patrons, get them interested in my product, while you give them a great valentines, most definitely earning you some repeat customers. Then, when the time comes that I have perfected the recipe, and convinced the Magi authorities that my potions are perfectly safe, I start selling them myself. You send your customers my way, giving me some early sales, while drumming up interest in my product. I will, of course, split the profits with you for all your generous help, lets say 90/10? After all I am doing most of the work. Does that sound about right?"

Alethin shrugged, "Well, I've been had, hook, line, and sinker. You call me savvy, yet you're the real crafty one here. Everything sounds just about right, however, I was thinking more along the lines of an 80/20 split, at the least. I will supply you with a great line of distribution, allowing you to sell your product to more people, with great ease, maximizing profit for the two of us."

"Well I'm not all too happy with an 80/20 split, but I suppose there'll be no convincing you otherwise," Kaiden sighed, "Well I went through so much trouble to get you here, so I have no choice but to accept. I can get the potions made up for you by tonight. You can just swing by here any time after midnight or so and pick them up."

"I would prefer not to make a repeat visit, these are, after all, not exactly legal yet. Bring them to this address, no later than 3 am, and we'll have ourselves a deal," as Alethin said the words Adela slithered out of his robe, an already prepared note in her mouth, she stretched out, offering the note to Kaiden.

"I suppose that makes sense," Kaiden mumbled, as he grabbed the note, Adela quickly shrunk back into Alethin's robe, "I'll be sure the potions make it to you in time, don't worry about it. You can slink away into now. May this be a profitable endeavour for the both of us!"

With a wave Alethin slunk his way away from the stall, deftly snatching a bouquet of the dancing flowers, as to appear as if he had made a purchase, all while avoiding Talyn's gaze. As he started on his way out of the bustling marketplace he abandoned the flowers in a little girls hand, the girl gave a thank you to the unseen gift giver as she admired the funky flowers. His business all in order, with a satisfactory escape from the market, Alethin made his way to the designated meeting spot. Nothing more than a nondescript alley. While there was still plenty of time before the love potions would arrive, the location in question was where Alethin was preparing his cart for the upcoming full moon. Alethin took his time getting his affairs in order, his work was monotonous, but it still passed the time quickly. Before he knew it night had come to pass, and he was mostly done with his work. Not wanting to waste this rare peaceful opportunity, knowing that it would still be a while before his delivery, Alethin decided to take a well earned nap in his cart.

Alethin woke to Adela on his chest, she had clearly head someone approaching. His demeanor indicated that it was most likely Kaiden coming with his love potions. Based on the position of the moon it couldn't have been much later than two. Satisfied with Kaidens timely approach Alethin left his cart, and moved to the entrance of the alley. A somewhat rickety wagon, pulled by a young sand grypon, sauntered its way towards the alley. Unfortunately it was not Kaiden who was driving the wagon, but Talyn. Did Kaiden really send this guy to do the delivery? Alethin asked himself, somewhat annoyed. I suppose it makes sense...Can't really complain about it at this point.[/i]

Waving a hand at Talyn, Alethin greeted the man, "Long time no see."

"Ahahaha! You're such a kidder," Talyn beamed. "I know I'm probably not the guy you wanted to see, but Kaiden asked me to do this for him, so why not? I mean, it's not like I really wanted to spend any more time with you than I had to, or anything, especially after that incident in Alveus...But hey, Kaiden's good people so, why not?"

"All water under the bridge, I presume? Merely a misunderstanding, surely you can look back on it and laugh?" Alethin answered nervously. I doubt that Kaiden would be setting me up with illegal goods...But this guy? He's not the brightest, but he can be very crafty. If he holds a grudge I'm sure he could think up a fairly devious plan to get me in some real trouble. I best tread carefully.

"Oh man I don't think I can laugh about it quite yet," Talyn was serious. "But, hey, you're helping out Kaiden with his love potions, so you're a-ok in my book! In any case, I have a bunch of those half baked love potions for you!" Talyn jumped off of his wagon, and headed towards the back of it, Alethin followed. "They're in those reddish crates on the left," Talyn gestured to a dozen small crates in the wagon, there was a rather unpleasant smell. "You don't want the rest of the junk in there, more crap that Kaiden has tasked me with getting rid of."

"Alright," Alethin uttered, off put by the foul stench, I suppose he has no secret agenda, that's a relief. "Mind helping me unload these?" Alethin asked politely.

"Ooo does that mean I get a sneak peek into that mysterious Cart of yours?" Talyn exclaimed happily.

"No, just put them at the entrance to the alley, please." Alethin was rather curt.

"Phooey." Talyn sounded disappointed. The two men worked in silence, moving the crates from the wagon to the alley. While on the small side the crates were rather heavy. There wasn't too many of them so the work was done in record time. "Well best of luck with your sales, I'll probably come around to see what you want to keep so secret!" Talyn smiled at Alethin as he got back into his wagon. "Now I just need to get rid of this garbage, I'll be seeing you on the full moon, and with a nice little discount, right?"

"Oh for sure," Alethin laughed, "For all this hard work I think I could shave 1% off, just for you." Talyn merely laughed at the prospect. "Good luck with your very important task," Alethin left Talyn with one last sarcastic remark as his wagon started on its way to wherever Talyn was disposing of Kaidens junk. After Talyn had vanished into the night, Alethin spoke a few soft words into his cloak. Adela slithered out from under his robe, and with unnatural speed bolted towards the figure that had been watching the alley since before Alethin had awoken. The figure vanished. Not in a "vanished into the darkness" sense, but in a "seemingly ceased to exists" sense. Even Adela, which her much keener senses, had given up hope on tracking down this mysterious Magi. Perhaps Alethin had merely imagined the figure? No, in that case Adela wouldn't have acted. Sneaking up on Alethin while he was asleep was one thing, but to completely erase ones presence? That's a very rare, and very hard to master, skill. How did this figure even find him? Could Kaiden or Talyn have gotten someone like that to track him? Surely not, unless one of the two had deep dark secrets that even Alethin wasn't privy to, there was no way they could've hired someone that skilled to hunt him down. There was a small chance, that in his various experiments, Kaiden had stumbled onto some great, yet unknown, power. That, of course, didn't make sense, why would Kaiden want to watch the exchange from the shadows? Their transaction was beneficial for the both of them, and definitely favored Kaiden. Did he simply not trust Alethin or Talyn? Very unlikely. Alethin ultimately decided that some third party must be seeking his downfall. He rarely dealt with strictly illegal goods, so now, while undeniably red handed, was a very good time to get him sent down for his black market dealings. Determined to outwit his powerful pursuer Alethin said a silent sorry to Kaiden as he passed by the crates of love potions, and moved towards his cart. Depending on how much this person knew abandoning the goods may not be enough, but it gave Alethin some plausible deniability.

"Put your hands up. Move away from the cart. And no funny business from that snake, alright." An authoritative voiced called out to Alethin from the entrance to the alley. That's impossible! Alethin screamed internally, there was no way some common cop could have hidden their presence from Alethin. Di that figure do it? But how? Knowing that compliance was best at this point Alethin obeyed the orders. When he turned around he saw three officers at the entrance to the alley. Three! Ridiculous, where could they have come from? This just got more and more implausible. "We have it on good authority that you're peddling love potions," the voice from before, attached to a rather burly man, stated matter-o-factly. "They're illegal you know. So, I'm gonna need you to come on down to your new home away from home with me. It's a nice place, three square meals per day, a window with a view, and no noisy roommates to ruin your day!" The man was clearly enjoying this. Another officer cuffed Alethin, while the third made for Adela. She quickly darted into the cart, the door closing behind her. "Ah ah ah, I said no funny business with the snake, that's going on your record bucko." Alethin sighed dejectedly as one of the officers moved him towards a waiting cage, affixed to a wagon. "Sir, I can't seem to get into this cart of his, and the snake definitely went in there. What should we do?" Alethin heard one of the officers say. "Oh it's fine,' the burly one answered, "We can get a retrieval team out here in the morning, far too late too worry about that thing, it's not going anywhere, and who cares about some dumb snake? For now lets get this guy to his new abode, where we'll serve him with a nice big helping of justice!"

Alethin kicked the wall of his cell in frustration. How? Is the question he kept asking himself. He was always so careful, discreet, unnoticed, but now he's was in a cell. "Peddling illegal wares." What a thing to go down for. At least the chances of Kaiden or Talyn being betrayers was low. In a rather curt interrogation Alethin had been asked again and again where he'd received the potions. Not one to bow down to pressure, or oust a supplier, Alethin had merely remained quiet. "I hope you like it here," one of the guards had sneered at him, as he was being lead to his cell. Alethin knew his chances of getting out legally would take more time than he had to spare, so he was already cooking up an escape plan. The first order of business was to pass on a few notes to Adela. After all, the customer was number one, and being stuck in here meant that Alethin would be unable to uphold his full moon obligations. Adela would have to be the bearer of bad news, but hopefully grant eager customs some small comfort in this unfortunate situation. The security system of this prison was rather robust, a ward was placed on his cell, alerting the guards should an unwanted presence enter, or any attempt at magic being used. Thankfully there was a rather glaring security flaw: An unguarded, barred, window to the outside. While Adela was prevented from entering the cell without alerting someone, it was a rather simple task for Alethin to speak with her, and pass along some reassuring letters. For the moment all Alethin could do was wait. Adela would handle the shop, reassuring potential customers, while also gathering some information. Hopefully someone knew something.

After the officers had taken away Alethin Adela remained in the cart. She made no attempt to move from her hiding spot until a few hours had passed. She sensed no one outside, but that didn't mean much considering the figure that had vanished from her sight only a short while ago. Tentatively she opened the door to the cart. As best as she could tell the alley way completely abandoned. Not wanting to spend any more time here Adela gave one last glance around before returning to the cart. The cart was rather fascinating, thanks to some help from a rather accomplished artificer it was able to move along on its own. Working the mechanisms that directed the cart was rather simple, but Adela lacked the necessary tools to make it easy. Without any hands it was a struggle, but a manageable task. In no time at all Adela, and the cart, were moving away from this despicable alley. Night was almost over, but there was enough time for Adela to move the cart to a more secure location. Adela was confidant that unless the figure from before made a reappearance the cart would be safe, so she started on her way to find Alethin. Tracking him was very easy. The people that had taken him away had made no attempt to disguise their route, likely fully confidant that their prison would secure Alethin no matter what. Arriving at a small barred window Adela looked down at Alethin. Immediately he noticed her. Quickly moving towards the window Alethin exchanged a few quick words with Adela. Instructions on what to do next. Set up the shop at the designated time and place. Gather any information that you can on who caught us, and the best way to escape this dingy cell. Then, once the escape is complete, disappear into obscurity until the one after them was identified and dealt with. With a goodbye Alethin slipped a couple notes to Adela, and told her to be on her way.

The sun had risen by the time Adela left Alethin. While she preferred the cover of darkness, it made sneaking around much easier, she had no choice but to move around in the daylight. Taking a completely different route to the one she had used to arrive at the prison, Adela passed through the Keep's gardens. It was a safe route for her in the sunlight, jet black snakes were an uncommon sight, but the an untrained eye a snake in a garden was of no interest. Lady luck had different plans for Adela.
"Ahhh! It's that damned snake!" a hooded figure yelled at Adela.
"Shh, keep your voice down," someone else whispered, "I don't want to get tied up in this more than i already am, just forget the snake." Adela had already slithered far away once the words left the second man's mouth. She hid herself in a nearby bush, not the greatest of hiding spots, but it would have to do. The two men started on their way out of the garden, as Adela picked up further snippets of their conversation. "As long as he's dealt with we're fine."
"Yeah sure, I still don't like that snake"
"Don't worry...will be happy...sorted now...I hope."
Their words drifted into nothingness. Adela recognized one of the men as the burly officer who had caught Alethin, and the other was a familiar herbalist, but she could not remember who exactly it was. She wanted two pursue the two men, figure out who they both were, and why they were after Alethin. Getting caught now would spell doom for Alethin, and the two men seemed to not notice the notes tied to her neck. If they got a hold of the notes they would likely move Alethin to an even more secure location, making escape all that much harder. Adela resisted the urge to pursue, instead she made her way towards the hiding spot of the cart. Come nightfall Adela would move the cart to its usual location, appease the customers, and hopefully gather some useful information.

For the next few days Adela manned the cart on her own. Many disappointed customers came and went, a few discreetly offering her some tidbits of information. None seemed to know who had caught Alethin, no one even mentioned anything close to the figure that had first appeared outside the alley, but many offered sound advice on what to do about the escape. Adela had also been cautioned about the sudden appearance of new, and highly aggressive, ammits. This did not faze her, creatures were much easier to deal with than any Magi that might come after her. A few times some officers had come around, the location of the shop was no great secret after all, but they never stayed long, Adela made sure of that. Once the cart had spent its allotted time in the public eye Adela moved it to a brand new hiding spot. Confidant in the security of the cart Adela had one more stop to make before returning to Alethin's side. All of the shops were tightly shut at this time of night, but that was of no concern to Adela. She found the one she was looking for, the Artificer's Shop, and deftly slid her way inside. Only the most robust of locks could keep her out, and nothing of that magnitude would be found around here. The shop was small, and somewhat cluttered, but Adela easily found what she was looking for. A curious metal snake someone had told her about, supposedly it could turn into a set of keys. Not just any keys, keys that could be used to open just about any lock, at least if used by one with the right skills. Alethin would certainly have the skills to use the keys to great effect. Happy with what she'd found Adela grasped the small mechanism in her mouth, then made her way out the same way she came in, and started on her way to Alethin.

Adela arrived at Alethin's cell, making sure that no one else was present she rustled some of the grass outside the window to alert Alethin to her presence. Alethin immediately perked up, and made his way over to the window. "Glad to see you're doing well," Alethin whispered happily, "So, what have you got for me?" Straight down to business, as usual. Adela released her grip on the metal snake, allowing it to drop into Alethin's waiting hands. "Ah yes, this should be perfect. Excellent work." Alethin praised Adela, "Wait right there, I'll be with you in just a moment." Alethin turned away from the window making his way to the door of his cell. The little automaton was mundane in nature, the artificer's prided themselves on making works of pure technological genius. This suited Alethin just fine, as if there was a hint of magic in the small metal snake the alarm would most definitely sound. Taking a few moments to admire this work of art Alethin determined how to unravel the snake into what he desired. By giving the tail a little twist the rib cage on the snake silently opened up, revealing a rather impressive set of keys. Made of finely carved, ornate, bronze the keys appeared to be ornamental at first glance, blending in perfectly with the clockwork appearance of the snake. Alethin knew better, they were in fact a rather well designed set of burglary tools, ones deft enough to pick even magically enchanted locks. Having had plenty of time to observe his surroundings Alethin knew the lock would be quite easy to pick, especially with tools as fine as these. With some fumbling in the beginning, Alethin tested some of the tools in the lock. In no time at all he knew exactly what he need to do, and soon, with a satisfying thud, the bolt that held the door in place was no more. While his prison was not the best kept, after all crime rates were quite low making such a place fairly unnecessary, the door was well oiled, it swung open soundlessly.

Navigating the building was a very simple task. The basement, which is where he found himself, was not more than four medium cells, with a set of stairs leading to the guards chambers. From there there were two doors, one lead to an interrogation room, the other to a small reception area, which housed the door leading outside. At this time of night there would only be one guard on duty. Security was lax, after all Alethin wasn't deemed to be dangerous, and with his good behavior the guards obviously underestimated his ability to make a getaway. As Alethin crept up the stairs he came up to the door to the guards chambers. A small window in the middle of the door let him see a lone guard sitting by candlelight, reading a tome of sorts. Hoping his escape goes unnoticed Alethin cracked open the door to the guards chamber. It opened just as silently as his cell door. Completely hidden, after all moving around silently was a forte of Alethin's, he continued toward the door to the reception area. No window on this one, so Alethin could only hope there was no one on the other side. Again a silent door, and with no one on the other side. Thanking his lucky stars Alethin casually strolled to the entrance. One more soundless door later, he had escaped, and without any trouble whatsoever. As Alethin made his way to the back of the building he offered another silent thanks, this time to whoever was in charge of oiling the door hinges in this place. Alethin arrived before Adela, and he gave her a pat on the head, "That's my girl. Now lets get out of here." Adela slithered up his arm, and settled on his shoulders. The two headed off into the night, Adela directing Alethin to where she had hidden the cart. Only coming here to make a few preparations, Alethin worked fast. Alethin put together a dozen notes, each with a simple enchantment that would lead his customers, and potential allies, to the note, while also hiding the notes from those he had no dealings with. With the small amount of time left before daybreak Alethin affixed the notes to various alleys around the keep, hoping that one of them would be able to attract someone who could figure just who was behind this whole mess. His escape officially complete Alethin disappeared into the night, hoping not to be found until the one who was after him was dealt with.

Thugs MacKenzie had always gravitated towards a life of crime. He was a nice enough young man, if not a bit dull, but being built like a nandi bear, and equipped with a face that could curdle milk, everyone always assumed he was some sort of criminal. Not wanting to disappoint those around him Thugs became exactly that. Not ever initiating the crimes himself Thugs usually acted as hired muscle. While much of his work wasn't strictly illegal, after all you can't fine a guy just for standing around, he still had a long list of misdemeanors to his name. Thugs generally didn't have much money to his name, he never accepted payment for his services, for he was always "happy to help out," so most of his crimes involved the petty theft of food. Something which most people didn't care about, but on occasion an officer would apprehend Thugs for his theft. Thugs was an easy, and generally compliant, target to snag, all in the name of "sending a message" so other, more evasive, criminals knew that someday they would be caught. Thugs spent most of his time hanging around in dark alleys, going from job to job, helping out any who called on him. It was in these alleys where Thugs had first met Alethin. A cool, dark, and mysterious stranger, who would occasionally ask Thugs for help in moving some goods from one place to another. The two had formed a friendship of sorts, or at least a kind of business relationship. That's why when Thugs came across Alethin's note it made him very angry. Someone had set up his friend, and gotten that friend sent to prison. Thugs knew that there was no way Alethin would ever commit a crime, at least not one that would warrant a trip to the big house. Filled wither determination Thugs set out to find the monster that had done this.

Thugs may not have been very bright, but he sure wasn't stupid. The most obvious culprit was the one who set Alethin up with illegal goods. Thugs knew that Alethin was dealing with love potions, and that they were rather illicit goods, so the question was: Who had supplied them to Alethin? Thugs had heard whispers of a man by the name of Kaiden Featherstone, or something to that effect, who had been toying with the concept of creating love potions. After one quick inquiry to a source he trusted Thugs had the location of this deceitful mans house. A short journey away Thugs arrived at Kaiden's abode. He pounded heavily on the door, practically shaking it off of its hinges. In no time at all a curious man appeared within the doorway.
"Oh my, I thought you were a rekantum!" Kaiden exclaimed, "And what can I help you with today? or are you just here to test the structural integrity of my door?"
"Cut the crap Mr. Featherrock," Thugs sneered, in his baritone voice, "I'm here's so you'll admits to what you did! You lying liar! I know what you did to Mr. Alethin! What kind of scum are you! Yous gonna pay for your crimes!"
'Whoa now lad, why don't we just calm down a little," Kaiden responded in a clam voice. "Now now, what's this about Alethin? I know he got arrested, and has since escaped. So, that begs the question, are you here because you think I aided in his escape, or because, for some unknown reason, I got the man sent to prison?"
"Uhh well, the, er, clearly did the set up thing! Yeah!" Thugs exclaimed, "Don't trys to confuse me without your evil questions! I knows you set up Mr. Alethin, you dirty rotten no good whatchacallsit. You gave him illegal love potions, an then you, uh, told the cops! And then they, uh, gots poor Mr. Alethin, and sent him down!"
"Hm. Quite an astute observation on your part." Kaiden pondered, "It would seem that I am a likely culprit. That is if you ignore the fact that they were my love potions. My product that I wanted to sell. Alethin was going to help me sell them. I clearly had every reason to ensure that Alethin succeeded in selling off my potions." Kaiden put a hand on the young man's shoulder, "Now, the way I see it, is that if anyone is guilty it would be the third party that was around both myself, and Alethin. Talyn." Kaiden gave a knowing smile, "I am not sure why he would want to ruin my business transaction, but I do know he was not a big fan of Alethin. Furthermore, I have seen far less of Talyn recently, and he has been extra twitchy. I deal with the man a lot, since he has been helping me with the disposal of failed experiments, and he has definitely been acting weird for the past few days. I figure the guilt of what he did to Alethin is eating away at him, and that is why he has been so weird recently. I never connected the him to Alethin's capture until now, but it does make sense, now that I think of it. So, run along now, leave me alone, go find Talyn, and I am sure you will find the answers you are seeking." Kaiden moved to close the door, happy to be rid of this strange, and very large, man.
"Wait," Thugs put his foot in the doorway, 'Who's this Talon fellow, and how do I find him?"
"Er," Kaiden was a little taken aback, "Hm, most people around these parts are well aware of...Talyn, but I suppose it's possible you are unaware of his existence...If I help you find him do you promise to leave me alone?"
"Whoa! Really Mr. Birdstone?" Thugs exclaimed, "Whys I had the wrong idea about yous! You're one of them there nice fellas, like me! Come on, lets go give this Talon guy a piece of our minds!" Thugs dragged Kaiden out of his house, and eagerly asked, "So where too, boss?" Accepting his current fate Kaiden decided it would be best to just go with the flow, so he began leading the very large man to where Talyn resided.

After a short walk the two men arrived at a door, Kaiden indicated that this is where Talyn lived. Eager that the monster who set up Alethin get his comeuppance Thugs began pounding on the door. There was no answer, so Thugs pounded even harder, "I know you're in there Mr. Talon! So open up! Now!"
A meek noise came from the other side of the door, and Talyn opened it just a crack, "Look it wasn't my fault!" he stammered, "I mean the kitsune looked lost, so i figured I'd help him out, but then he got into my bag, and I'd just been to see Lady Alua, so I have some gender change potions in there of course, and well you know how curious kitsunes can be, and then I look down at the little fella, and he, er well, she, looked just so darned happy that I figured all was well. I swear if I had known that he, uh she, belonged to-"
"Shut up!" Thugs yelled, "I don't know nothing about no gender confused kitsunes, but what i do know is that yous are the monster that set up poor, kind, gentle, innocent, Mr. Alethin!"
Talyn opened the door a little more, and saw Kaiden standing next to this large stranger, a look of realization came across Talyn's face. "Uh...You think I had something to do with Alethin, Kaiden? Really man? You think I'd screw you over like that?"
"Well, no, but you are the most likely suspect I could come up with, and this...lovely young lad here is ever so determined to find out who set up Alethin." Kaiden gestured to Thugs. "Of course, if you indeed are not the culprit, I figure you would at least have some leads. You were the last one to see Alethin before his capture."
"Is that true Mr. Talon? Yous were with Mr. Alethin when those jerks banged him up!?" Thugs questioned, moving closer to Talyn.
"Uh well," Talyn was a bit flustered with the large man so close, "I suppose I was probably the last one to see him, but I sure as heck didn't notice anything off when I was leaving to offload Kaiden's junk..."
"So you don't knows anything!" Thugs raised his voice, "So this was all just a big waste of time! Mr. Stonefeather, are you just trying to confuse me!"
As Thugs turned to Kaiden Talyn spoke up, "Whoa there big fella, I may not have seen anything then, but I have noticed someone acting rather suspicious." Thugs turned back to Talyn, perking up at his vague lead. "Well, as you know I was tasked with getting rid of Kaiden's failed experiments, and well, the uh...noxious gasses sort of...gave me this pretty bad rash. So I sought out Ridan Greenleaf, he's an herbalist of sorts, has lots of weird, but usually pretty effective, ointments that he supplies folk with. Here's the thing though, when I got there he wasn't himself. Off edge, jumpy, all around suspicious. He wouldn't even give me any kind of remedy, he just to me to leave, what a jerk! Anyway, here's the important bit, I heard that some folks saw him bickering with someone in trading post regarding a jet black snake."
"Adela I would presume." Kaiden interjected.
"Exactly!" Talyn continued, excitedly, "Now I don't know what Ridan has against Alethin, but he's just has to be connected to this whole mess in some fashion! If we track him down I know we can find out who set Alethin up."
"Hooray!" Thugs jumped with excitement, and dragged Talyn and Kaiden into one big hug. "That means wes can clears the good name of Mr. Alethin, as longs as we find this Reed Dan fellow, right? That's great!"
Kaiden and Talyn nodded in unison. "I think I know where we can find him." Talyn stated confidently. With that Thugs, with another new companion, was once again setting off to find the culprit who did Alethin in.

The trio arrived at the keep gardens, which is where Talyn promised they would find Ridan. Their search was quick, and fruitful, for the found Ridan in the shade of a large oak tree, enjoying a pleasant afternoon. Ridan spotted the unlikely trio approaching him, and frowned. "Look Talyn, I don't care how much muscle you hire, I'm not in the mood to deal with you, and your disgusting rash. Go away."
"Oh no I'm not-" Talyn started, but was quickly cut off.
"So yous that Reed Dan fellow, huh!" Thugs butted in, "Thems two says that yous the one who set up poor poor Mr. Alethin, and I'm heres to get justice! No more criminal life for yous, yous will be living in that cell you gots Alethin into, you dirty monster!" There was an awkward silence after Thugs was done talking.
Ridan slowly stoop up, glaring at Thugs. "Innocent? Is that what you think? Oh poor ol' Alethin, getting caught for dealing with illegal goods. Give me a break. Do you want to know just how innocent you precious Mister Alethin is?" Thugs gave Ridan a tentative nod. "Good answer." Ridan smiled, "That low down, careless, scum of a man is not innocent. He's always going around collecting rare creatures, sure he never really does anything wrong in his pursuit of new goods, in fact, until not, I didn't even mind the guy. But this time he went too far!" Ridan seethed, "That bastard went ahead and got a hold of some love potions," Ridan glared at Kaiden, "And then he enlisted some poor sap to sour the Jungle of Raza with said potions." Another glare, this time at Talyn, "And why, oh why, would someone want to do that you may ask? Why, for rare creatures of course! Mist and telvian ammits are practically unheard of, but what has theen been a recent population explosion of? Why....Mist and telvian ammits of course! Alethin figured that he could just go around and wreak havoc on an ecosystem all in the name of profit! For some sort of sick Valentines day sale of forbidden love, or some nonsense. And now, this is the best part, we have this big old hunk of meat coming to me, and telling me that Alethin is innocent. Well, that just pathetic, defending someone who would go that far for a profit, you're the real monster here."
"Uh, er, ehm..." Thugs stuttered, taking in everything that Ridan had just said. "That''s...I mean, lies! Lies and lies and more lies you liar! Mr. Alethin would never do something so devious.
As Ridan was preparing to rebuke what Thugs said Kaiden cut in. "Ahem, I think...just maybe I know what has gone on here..." Kaiden turned to Talyn, who was beet red. "Tell me, Talyn, what exactly have you been doing with my failed experiments?"
"Hahaha," Talyn was sweating profusely, "Oh you know...I was...I mean...It's just that...Well, at first I just, you know, brought them to a lab in the keep, nice and safe...But you just kept giving me more, and more, and the stench! Master Belmos sure did give me quite a talking to for that stench. So, I had to figure something else out...I thought, 'hey where's some place no one will worry about these stupid potions, somewhere no one goes, and they can just sit an relax until they stop stinking so much?' And it hit me, Raza! No one ever goes there, what with all the deadly wildlife...and uh you know, the reek was pretty bad, no way some wild thing would muck around with the refuse, right?" Talyn looked down guiltily, "Well....It worked for a bit, but one day when I when to my dumping spot everything was smashed up, I had just kept all the garbage in crates, and now it was just everywhere....There didn't really seem to be any damage to the vegetation, and no dying creatures hanging around, so I figured it was no big deal, damage was already done, and uh...I just...kept dumping..." Talyn trailed off.
"You..." Ridan buried his face in his hands, "You dumped failed love potions into the Jungle of Raza? Really? What the hell is wrong with you Talyn? I didn't think anyone was capable of being that stupid." Ridan sounded very disappointed.
Kaiden tried to brighten the mood, "Everyone makes mistakes you know! Now that we know what caused this whole mess, it should be easy to clean up, right?"
"Uh yeah, I don't really gets it, but it sounds like Mr. Alethin had nothing to do with it! Hooray! Now we just need to get Talon into a cell and everything will be a-ok!" Thugs gleefully wrapped his hands around Talyn's shoulders.
"Well, not exactly." Ridan muttered. "You see, it wasn't really me who was after Alethin, it was the people of Raza..."
"The people of Raza?" Kaiden asked, a little confused.
"Yes, you probably only know them as myth, but they definitely exist." Ridan continued, "When the mist and telvian ammits began appearing in droves I went down to where they were certainly coming from, Raza. When I arrived I began searching around for some clues, when I was approached by a green skinned figure. He gave me no name, merely stated, 'You, and your kind, are responsible for damaging our jungle. Bring me the one responsible for this mess, or you will never be welcomed here again.' Knowing that something had to be done I told the strange man that I would do what I could for him. I knew that the trouble in Raza had to be connected to love potions in some what, and that you, Kaiden, had been messing around with their production. I came to your market stall, hoping to have a word, when I saw Alethin waiting to speak with you. I guess...I kind of just assumed that he must have been the culprit, you know, he is always showing up with all kinds of fanciful creatures, so I just guessed he would go to any length to get a new product. It seems a little unreasonable now, but if it wasn't him it had to have been you, or Talyn, and I didn't think either of you were capable of such things..."
Talyn perked up, "So wait those legends about jungle people are true? That's awesome! We should go talk to them, I'm sure once I explain myself everything will work out just fine!"
Thugs joined Talyn in celebration, "Yay! I dids it! I saved Mr. Alethin from a life of imprisonment!"
"Now hold on just a minute you two," Kaiden added, "Ridan would it really be that easy?"
Ridan pondered the question for a moment, then answered, "I think...It probably would. The jungle people seem reasonable enough to me, I've spoken with them a few times now, and they even helped with Alethin's capture, I doubt we could've snuck up on him without their help. They just don't like attention, other than that they seem like good people. Once we're done cleaning up the mess, and hopefully find a way to corral all those new wild ammits, they'll be happy to accept you apology Talyn. That, or feed you to some wild animals, heh heh." Ridan gave Talyn a sly grin.
Talyn gave a nervous laugh, "Oh Ridan you're such a kidder...I hope..." He then turned to Thugs, "Well congratulations..uh...Whatever your name is, looks like you solved the case!"
Thugs gave Talyn a toothy grin, "It's Thugs MacKenzie, or to yous, Ace Detective Thugs MacKenzie!" With that the four men gave a hearty chuckle, and started on their voyage to Raza to put things right.
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