Eternal vigilance.

two old men eating soup

It has been said that whilst Justice might not sleep in Port Naain, there are times when it dozes on the job and honest citizens have to step into the breach and ensure that justice is done.

Few can be more dedicated to this task than the Brothers Maranot. They are two men who have grown old in the service of their fellow citizens, yet have at the same time shunned recognition or the rewards that recognition might bring them.

They still run the same squalid boarding house into which they were born so many decades ago. From the outside it looks like four semi-derelict houses on the verge of total collapse. So in that part of the Sump they do not attract any attention. Should you put aside any fears you have about their structural integrity and enter, you’ll discover that the interior is every bit as dilapidated as the outside. Most of the internal walls seem to have been replaced over the years by stud and board partitions. These divide both floors into a warren of small rooms separated by corridors. These in places become crawl-ways whilst the stairs were long ago absorbed. Nowadays only the occasional ladder allows those with a ‘room’ on the top floor to access their domain.

The Brothers Maranot live in the fifth house. It retains its internal and external walls, but it is possible to access it from inside the boarding house. Indeed legend has it that much of Port Naain can be accessed from there. It is rumoured that some of the crawl-ways suddenly drop into drains or long forgotten tunnels. Thus if one has the need, one can travel a considerable distance without being seen. Some claim that the tunnels lead to other, more desirable properties in rather more salubrious areas. Some claim that one can follow other tunnels and end up outside the city entirely. Only the Brothers know the true extent of the network or even if it exists at all.

Then there are the clients. Not for the Brothers the sad detritus of society who tend to wash up in such places. No the Brothers serve a more financially solvent clientele. Sneak thieves, three card men, bit fakers, prigs, scamps and glaze spankers all find themselves lodgings in that boarding house.

Sometimes, like some shark lurking within a shoal of lesser fish, some greater villain will discover they need the anonymity that the Brothers Maranot can give. Sometimes, making your way through the narrow corridors of the boarding house you will come upon an example of deep evil.

As for the Brothers, they attribute their great age to living simple lives striving after virtue, and a diet composed almost entirely of meat. Both are very partial to mott, well cooked. Alas, as they have grown old, they’ve lost their teeth. Still, ever philosophical, they merely comment that well hung mott makes an excellent soup.

Then there is a final service they can provide for clients. Some of the more evil will often realise that they have come to the end of the road in Port Naain. Either they leave the city and start again elsewhere, or they somehow change their identity and start again in Port Naain.

The Brothers do offer a very special service to those clients who can afford it. They can change a person’s appearance entirely. They remain ever circumspect on what they do; merely pointing out that none of those who have availed themselves of the service have yet been uncovered. Indeed they will name clients and ask if anybody has ever heard of them again.

So for a considerable sum and in even more considerable secrecy the desperado will avail themselves on that service. They will pay over the requisite fee, slip quietly into the house where the Brothers live, and then will disappear as completely as if they had never existed.

And a short while later the Brothers will make their next batch of soup from another well hung mott.

♥♥♥♥

I suppose that this is a not entirely inappropriate place to point out that Tallis gets several mentions, largely honourable, in

 

Hired to do a comparatively simple piece of mapping work Benor should perhaps have been suspicious when the pay seemed generous.
Will he ever get to the bottom of what is going on?
How rough is the rough justice of rural Partann?
How to clean out a privy with a crossbow. Welcome to the pastoral idyll.

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