"I will do what I can to keep you safe," the innkeeper tells the distraught young woman. Then she turns to Wendel. "But she is right. If Baton expects to find her someplace that has been compromised, he could be in terrible danger. Perhaps if you delivered the message, you could ask him why he is willing to marry a woman famed for her beauty, her wealth and her power."
She looks next at Isabeau, nodding her head. "Whoever killed Zari has done so on his own. He has taken a terrible risk, and whoever helps him takes a terrible risk as well. If it was one of ours who did this, he has forsaken our aid. We do not take it on ourselves individually to commit murder. There are ... other considerations. You may do what you must to pursue this individual without fear of losing my good will."
"Dilisnya is what passes for the law in Borca. He is the commander of the guard, the enforcers," she makes a face, as if she'd smelled something foul, and shakes her head, angrily. [b]"Extorters, more like. Safety and peace, but only for those who can afford their price. They are the ones who pushed the beggars out of the city for the wedding, and turned their hovels over to house those who have come to enrich themselves during the festival. All to line Ivan Dilisnya's pockets."
"The Dark Maiden's other name is the Black Widow," she says, thinking. "It is said that she poisons her lovers, so that none can dispute her claims of purity. I don't believe she would kill him, though. She needs his information. Even if she had a reason to eliminate him, she would never display his corpse that way. The people Ivana wants dead simply disappear." She sighs, frustrated. "I can't think why anyone would hang a man in a spider's web unless it was to remind them of her. Of her crimes."
In addition to what Dana has just told Isabeau, you also recall that Dilisnya is Ivana Boritsi's cousin and rival. Though neither of them has ever moved against the other directly, they are constantly working to check each other's power. A year ago, several noble houses close to Dilisnya were said to be plotting against Boritsi. The ringleaders were executed, and their houses were stripped of rank, wealth and property, which was divided among several of the Dark Maiden's allies, including Ivan Dilisnya.
The small woman raises an eyebrow at Isabeau's question.
"His murder?" she says. "In truth, I don't think there are but a handful of people in the city who wouldn't want him dead. Whether any would have the courage to do something about it is a different question." She looks thoughtfully at Lucia for a moment. "The man is a devil, though like many devils, it is not the crimes he has committed that make him so evil, but those he has led others to commit. Brothers betray brothers, children betray parents, wives betray husbands, and all to feed him the only coin he values. Secrets. And when he has a person's secrets, he makes that person his puppet, forcing them to blacker and blacker deeds. If one in ten of the stories I believe of him are true, the world would be better off without him. But he is the Dark Lady's eyes. Noone would dare." She drums her fingers on the table and then sighs.
"Whoever would do such a thing would have to be willing to risk Ivana's wrath. A madman, someone with nothing left to lose. Or someone willing to risk everything. With Zari dead, Boritsi would be half blind."
The innkeeper nods to the gnome.
"What the badge represents is a willingness to oppose corruption." She frowns for a moment, in thought, and then decides to say no more on the subject. "If you wish for more privacy, I would suggest the hayloft above our stables. It is where I was going to take this one." She nods towards Stanrick, and then at Annette.
"If it is true that the Dark Lady is seeking this one, I don't know of anywhere in the city that will truly be safe. She is a terrible enemy."
1d20 ⇒ 15
The innkeeper's eyes open wide as the beautiful woman's voices fill the room for a moment, and she makes a sign against evil, but she says nothing. A moment passes, and then she shakes her head, turning to Wendel.
"If there is anything more dangerous for eavesdroppers to hear than that, I pray it will not be said under my roof," she says. "But I think your best protection is the celebration going on outside. Should anyone linger too near the door to this room, my staff will alert us."
It is loud out in the common room, the place is crowded, busy and fairly rowdy. It seems unlikely that anyone could casually listen to a conversation going on in here.
"If you have questions for me, now is the time."
At this moment, the curtain is pulled roughly open, and as abruptly closed again, after admitting the innkeeper. She scowls at all of you and shakes her head.
"You couldn't have come at a worse time," she says. "The first night of the wedding festival, I've no time for this. I'll make this short. This world is not a kind or gentle place. Nobody in their right mind will tell you that it is. People suffer through their lives, and they grow hard and cold, until it is hard to remember that there is any good at all in the world."
"There are monsters in this world. Some of them are human. I don't mean the peasant who steals or the soldiers who kills in battle. I mean souls so twisted that they are incapable of redemption." She pauses.
"Then there are those of us who fight them." She turns up the hem of her apron and shows a gold pin, nearly identical to the one given to Stanrick. She turns to him and his companions. "You were given this by someone who believes you can aid our cause."
"You," her eye sweeps over the four who came with Annette, "have come seeking help for one who wears a badge like this. You must help each other. I can find you a safe place to stay while you are here, and supply you with food and drink and what information I have to offer."