The path leads through dense undergrowth before opening up. Ahead, a circular area perhaps two hundred feet in diameter is filled with stone statues with flowers entwined around them. After a moment you realise that many of the statues appear to be of people in a state of terror and of the two dozen or so statues in the area perhaps half are trying to shield their eyes. As you look a motion of green catches your eyes and a huge snake tail disappears out of sight behind a statue on the far side of the area...
The bar is dim and dingy, the smoke-filled air catching at your lungs. Desperate for a drink you manhandle your way through the locals standing around the bar and order a flagon of the house ale. As the surly barmaid pours your beer you glance around the room. Locals, travellers and a single hooded figure sitting in a far corner. A tall wine glass sits in front of them on the table.
The hood is far forward and shadows the face but as the individual, a woman you would surmise noticed your gaze and looks back in your direction you swear you see, just for a second, two small snake-heads poking out from under the hood on either side of where their face would be...
The prison cell is dark, dank and smells like a latrine. This wasn’t how you planned your evening of rest and recreation would go, not after you’d managed to rescue the prince from the bandits. Oh well, maybe punching the major hadn’t been the best idea, even if he’d deserved it at the time. You look up as the jailers approach, scuffing their feet on the floor accompanied by a heavy dragging sound.
You are on your feet, hoping they are here to let you out, listening to the rattle of keys and some muffled curses directly outside your door. The door opens and you reflexively shield your eyes from the torchlight pouring in from the corridor. A light that is then blocked by two guards as they shove a body into the room and unceremoniously slam the door.
The abrupt gloom is as blinding as the torchlight was and it takes a few moments before you can focus on the moaning body at your feet - the body of a woman with green skin, a grubby cloth tied tightly around her eyes and snakes for hair…
You are replying to an advert posted by the assistant of the reclusive artist Lz’Arb famed for her realistic sculptures. ‘Help Wanted, Security for Gallery Unveiling’. Sounds like an easy job. The art world has to be safer than the adventuring one, right?
The assistant is a veiled woman in her mid-forties, human, heavy built with long auburn hair. She has done background checks on you it seems, knows enough about your ‘escapades’ as she puts it that you are getting uncomfortable. The one aspect of your work that she appears to fully approve of is your reputation for discretion.
Finally, after an interview that felt more arduous than your recent trip to the Plains of Aissur, she nods approvingly and pays you double your normal retainer before standing and inviting you to follow her to meet Lz’Arb.
Just before she steps through a bejewelled curtain hanging at the back of the room she pauses and turns to you and says
‘Make sure you only look at her in the mirror. I don’t want to have to go through that interview with someone else again, that would be the fourth this week.’
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