Reporting InMature

The Captain spent most of the morning overseeing the establishment of the inventor's new designated work zone. It was just outside of Marsten, on a stretch of reasonably flat ground. And while he could have simply pointed to the area and said 'there it is', his inherent sense of organization compelled him to do more than that. A lot more. The chaotic mess that was the inventor's camp on Her Ladyship's estate was, in his mind, a travesty. No, there would be no chaotic, slapdash camp here.

His first order of business had been to draft an honest to goodness blueprint on the largest sheet of paper he could find. Plots were designated, equally sized, organized into distinct sections. Each inventor would be assigned his own space in which to work, more if they petitioned for it and could prove they needed it. Streets - for lack of a better term - were laid out in a grid pattern, with one extra wide thoroughfare that cut the camp neatly in half and led directly towards Marsten's main gate. It would be a dirty, muddy mess if it rained, but it would have to do until they could get some gravel in. 

The next step up from the blueprinting stage had been to get a number of Watchmen and hastily drafted workers to actually make the thing a reality. Wooden stakes were obtained, as was an absolutely obscene amount of rope, twine, and string, to mark out the designated plots and roadways. Posts were driven into the ground and hand lettered signs quickly attached, designating roadways, districts, and individual plots. A latrine area was designated, and work began on the trench that would drain away the filth. He'd briefly thought about building a palisade around the whole thing, but decided against it on the grounds that more inventors were still arriving daily. By the time things were finished he might have to expand the original plan, and it would be a right pain in the ass to modify the palisade once it was in place. They would have to settle with regular patrols of Watchmen. It was yet another drain on his already stretched resources, but it had to be done. 

Just after midday found The Captain standing on a small hill that overlooked the camp, watching as it all came together. At this rate it would be as ready as it could be for the next inventors to move in come next morning. He spotted one of the men headed his way. Curious, he headed down the hill to meet him halfway.

"Captain," the Watchman saluted, though only enough to satisfy regulations. The Captain let it pass. 

"Watchman Willis," he said in greeting. "What's the news?"

"Word came back from the Tower, sir. We've got a lead on the murders."

*******************


The Captain settled into the chair behind his desk. Clasping his hands before him he leaned forward and looked from Hatchet to Anara. "Tell me what we've got."

"Looks like we're dealing with an actual mage," Hatchet started, "Not just some cultist that likes to fingerpaint with blood." 

"One of ours?" The Captain asked, concerned. 

"Nobody from around here," Anara assured him. "We've got a name - Noman. Probably an alias, but it's better than nothing. We've also got a description. I'm going to have our artists make up a poster for us as soon as we're done here. Have them put up all around the city, somebody will recognize him."

"Where did this information come from?"

"We did a follow up for an incident that happened last night at a tavern called The Barrel," Hatchet said. "We brought Olian along. He verified there had been magic used. A witness, one of the girls who works there, had seen the whole thing. She gave us the name and description." 

"And an account of what happened," Anara added. "He summoned and controlled demons, sir."

The Captain drew in a breath and let that soak in. These two Watchmen had reported seeing something they called a demon before, at one of the murder scenes. He hadn't quite known what to think of that at the time. Maybe it had just been a trick of lighting in the dark warehouse. Now they had an additional witness. "He left her alive?" he asked at last.

"That's right," Hatchet confirmed. "I can't explain why, but it seems like Noman was trying to protect the girl, Daine, from his demons." 

"If he has an interest in her he might try to contact her again," Anara said. "I suggest we put some eyes on her in case he does."

"Agreed," The Captain said. "But this seems rather... circumstantial. A mage running around summoning demons definitely needs to be dealt with. But we need to get the right person for these murders as well. Do we have anything that ties Noman to them?"

"According to Daine he showed up at The Barrel the same night as the first murder," Anara said. "And his description - physically, and the fact that he commanded demons with a green stone - exactly matches that of a man the priests said caused a ruckus at the Great Temple around the same time as the murders began." 

"Oh," Hatchet said, "I'd forgotten about that."

"And then there's the demon Hatchet and I saw at the warehouse," Anara added.
"Not to mention the one that attacked Byrd," Hatchet said. 

The Captain pressed his lips together in thought, then nodded. "We can safely tie the demons to Noman, and we can tie a demon to at least one of the murders. It's not much. But it's enough for me. What's the plan?"

"Olian is working on a way to detect Noman's magic the next time he uses it," Hatchet said. "If he can find a way to tell us where as well as when, we'll have a definite edge. Unfortunately we don't have any of the normal leads to follow. He's new to the city, so there are no family or friends. Nobody knows where his haunts are, who his allies might be. We know nothing of his motivation."

"I understand," The Captain acknowledged.  "Put those posters out," he told Anara. "Then all we can do is wait. Hatchet," he added, "The two of you are in charge of this. Anybody who gets any leads will come to one of you. Make this happen, but keep me informed."

He dismissed the two Watchmen. A short time later Lieutenant Mercer poked his head through The Captain's office door. "I heard a rumor we've got a decent lead on the murders," he said. The Captain, who was standing before his office window, turned to look over his shoulder. 

"You heard right," he said. "Come in, Lieutenant." 

 Mercer closed the door and joined The Captain at the window. "So what's the word?"

Instead of answering directly he asked, "When was the last time the Watch had to deal with a mage gone bad? Or demons? Or anything supernatural, for that matter?"

"Ooof," Mercer frowned. "Is that really what we're dealing with? I don't know. Well before my time. Before anybody who's with us now. Fifty to a hundred years, maybe?" 

"Exactly," the Captain sighed. "We're way out of practice for this sort of thing. But it is still our responsibility to keep the city safe. Talk to the librarian over at Red Manor, see what kinds of records you can dig up regarding incidents involving mages or demons, or both. Get examples of how the Watch dealt with this sort of thing in the past."

"I'll get right on it," Mercer promised. "If I might ask, sir... what are you going to do?"

"Me?" He stood looking out at the city for several heartbeats. "I think it's time I reported to the Five Princes on our situation."

The End

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