And now we’re with Ritu.
A casual observer might have assumed that Benor Dorfinngil was in a good mood. He had a spring in his step and might even be whistling a merry tune.
There was good reason for his high spirits. Things were going rather well.
He had funds. Admittedly he’d ended up giving two of the ten alar coins to
Shena, on the grounds that the costs entailed in purchasing a dress might well come within the definition of legitimate expenses incurred during the investigation. On the other hand, he’d been firm with Tallis. Benor couldn’t see why Tallis needed compensating for the strain of looking after innumerable grandchildren. Given that the alternative would have been accompanying Shena to purchase a dress, Benor felt he’d taken the easy option. Once she’d accepted the coins, Benor had mentioned the name, Salat
Wheelstrain, to her and Shena had, in good grace, promised to ask around.
Another of the coins had been broken into a most commendable quantity of small change and Mutt was using this to marshal his array of watchers. If
the two sisters left the house their movements were tracked and their
conversations overheard by a collection of inconspicuous and apparently
innocent children. Benor had been surprised just how much activity Mutt
could command for a comparatively small outlay.
Now he was intent on seeing Faldon the priest. As Faldon had been the instigator of the inquiry, Benor felt that it was only right that he occasionally reported back on what had been achieved. There was the problem that Faldon was disinclined to support anything to unethical, but Benor felt he could gloss over some matters. There was also the hope that Faldon would keep his eyes and ears open and might even have something to contribute to
When Benor arrived at the house he found Faldon sitting out in the street enjoying the afternoon sun. Unwilling to accept payment for cutting the hair of passers-by, Faldon tended to be paid in kind. Obviously, somebody had gifted him a bench of solid but inelegant construction, and this was set against the front wall of the house. Faldon sat on it, but when Benor appeared, the priest moved to one end to allow the younger man space to sit
“So how are things progressing?”
Airily Benor said, “I now have the two women watched by experts.”
“Hopefully we shall be ready if she makes a move against the child.” Faldon shifted his position on the bench as if his comment had left him uncomfortable. Then he changed the subject, “So what do you know about
Jorrocks Boat Yard?”
“Well, they bought a lot of very poor quality second-hand timber. Also it
appears Minny thought it important that Santon handled the Jorrocks Boat
Yard account for Raswil Muldecker the usurer.”
“What do we know about the yard?”
“I’d never heard of them,” Benor admitted. “But then I thought to ask Shena.
They are one of the smaller yards. Old Yalla Jorrocks had a good name, his son, Belan, wasn’t a bad boat builder, but by all accounts, he wasn’t the cheapest and apparently you had to keep an eye on him or corners were cut.
Of the current generation, Ardal is in charge and he is, apparently, the person to go to if you’re planning an insurance swindle or want something
doing that isn’t particularly legal. The smugglers tend to deal with him.”
Faldon asked, “So would it be worth having a look at the yard?”
“It could be. But I doubt they’d welcome casual visitors. I suspect I’d have
to look round at night.”
Hesitantly Faldon asked, “Would you like me to come with you?”
Surprised Benor said, “Certainly, it’s good to have support, but it didn’t
strike me as the sort of thing you’d want to get involved in.”
“I’m feeling a bit guilty,” Faldon admitted. “I dumped this job on you and
haven’t really done a lot to help.”
“Fair enough. If Mutt can spare the time I’ll get him to come as well. Today
has been overcast so it looks like we’ll get a dark night.”
To read further, hasten across to