Making her way through the busy streets of Caemlyn, Harriet, the chatelain for Lord Jaufre, Knight Protector of Tarendrelle, checked her packages as she loaded them into the wagon. She smiled as she went down her list, checking off staple items plus a few special things she wanted to have on hand for the upcoming holiday season. Lord Jaufre was planning a large set of parties to celebrate his favorite Gleeman's upcoming show debut, and wanted to set a fine table to impress those on the highly coveted guest list. The new show -- something about storms -- had been in production a long time, and Lord Jaufre was one of the first of the nobility to showcase it.
"I think it's all here," Harriet said to the wagon driver as she pulled herself up and into the seat next to him. "As soon as we get to the tower, I'll need you to take all this down to the cellar. I have the key right here..." She absently patted the large key ring hanging prominently at her side -- or tried to. The key ring was gone!
"Oh, dear," Harriet sighed, her face paling in fear. "Where are the keys to the tower?" She stood up in the wagon and scanned the crowd, waving frantically at a Lion Warden. "Help!" she called over to the Caemlyn city guard.
"What's the problem, ma'am?" he asked politely. Upon hearing her tale, the Lion Warden thought a moment. "We've had a problem with cutpurses and the like of late," he said. "Did you speak with anyone other than shopkeepers?"
Harriet started to say no, but then stopped herself. "We had a brief lunch at the Queen's Blessing, in the common room there," she said with a nod. "A woman struck up a conversation with me, very nicely. I'm afraid I was clumsy and spilled my drink on my skirt, and she was kind enough to help me mop up the mess..." Comprehension lit up Harriet's eyes as she finished the tale.
"What did she look like, ma'am?" the guard asked.
Harriet closed her eyes in thought. "She wore a clinging dress of emerald green, and some elegant leather slippers. I remember liking them, and wishing I could wear something like that..." She thought more and said, "Her eyes were ice blue, like they could freeze you in place if she was angry. Very delicate, too. Short, but the way she carried herself, you'd think she was much, much taller."
The guard nodded. "We'll keep an eye for her, ma'am. If we catch her, and she has keys, we'll send word to Lord Jaufre."
"Thank you," Harriet said with a slight stammer. "That would be most kind. I don't want to bother Lord Jaufre with this. You can contact me directly, in Tarendrelle..."
The guard grinned, a knowing smile on his face. "In the meantime, ma'am, you might want to go to the locksmith and get him to go out and help you, if you don't have copies of your keys already."
Harriet thanked the guard, and motioned to the wagon driver to start on their way. Worry creasing her brow, she did not notice the guard staring after her, a frown on his own face.
In a small shop off an even narrower alleyway, the locksmith looked up as someone entered and shut the door, putting the bar in place to lock it. Drywashing his hands, the locksmith stammered a greeting to his customer.
"Do you have those for me?" The customer put forward one hand, perfectly manicured and matching his fancy clothing.
"Yes, milord, of course," the locksmith answered, bringing forth two ornate keys. "The original, and the copy you requested. I've duplicated every detail, including the craftsmanship to age the new key to look like the old one, as you asked."
The customer scooped up the keys, his manner very nonchalant. "Forget I was here," he advised. "Blabbing tongues are quickly silenced."
The locksmith swallowed audibly, his adam's apple bobbing in his skinny throat. "I've seen no one all day, milord," he said. "In fact, I'm about to close up for the day..." His voice trailed off as he looked at his customer. "Week? Month?" he hazarded.
"Wise of you," the customer said as he lifted the bar and let himself out. He smiled, already anticipating finally getting into his nemesis's fabled storeroom of armor, weapons and treasure.
When Harriet got to the locksmith's shop, it was closed up tight with a sign on the door that read "Closed - Gone fishing."
"Mother's milk in a cup!" she cursed, and then blushed bright red that such a foul phrase would cross her lips.New smob storyline chain, updated smobs, new treasure at the end of it, suited for levels 20-51. The first group to solve it has a special prize at the end.VivEdit(tm) - The new smob chain has been completed for the first time! Congratulations to Mangler, rAz-hak!, Mastacalus, and the bazillion others who went head to head to try to do this first.