Compared to the ornate metal and oak of the main gate, the side entrance to Evermore Castle was a plain double door. The processing of servants was unceremonial; a few officials ticking off names from a lists. However, there were no shortage of guards inspecting each of the servants. As typical with any formal Breton event, agents of espionage were commonplace, and their typical disguise being that of the unassuming servant. Therefore, the throng of royal guards was no strange sight for those familiar with such occasions.
Unfortunately for one Sagax Speculatus, his attempt to sneak in a dagger was caught red-handed. The guards were well-experienced with hidden weapons and contraband, so much so that they didn't think Sagax posed a threat.
"That's not a bad kitchen knife, but you should know outside tools are not allowed." A castle administrator (a gaunt Breton man with graying and receding hairline) finished patting down Sagax and took the dagger into his hand. He gave it a quick look around and beckoned Sagax to come with him.
"So, you're Shay Cormac." The administrator took Sagax into a small office near the entrance. "Heh, you think you're an assassin or something with this knife?"
"I joke, of course." The administrator put the dagger in a box behind him, which was labeled temporary storage
"However, your name appeared yesterday and was immediately hired. We do need extra hands, but there's nothing of note about you." The administrator sat down behind a desk, but left no chair for Sagax to sit on. "I've never seen or heard of you around, and I know basically everyone in town."
"Now, son, why don't you tell me a bit about yourself?"
Luckily for Keegan, Alim and Tsleeixth, the unwilling distraction Sagax provided allowed them to pass undeterred. It also helped that they didn't stuff a chunk of metal in their jackets, and maybe the guards were too busy laughing at Keegan's jester custome, which was something between a fried banana and a frilled monkey.
It was the most humiliating attire Keegan had the displeasure of ever putting on. It also didn't help that he was carrying a sack of big, jingling balls (for juggling, of course). One of the guards had to give his ball sack a hard squeeze, while another patted his buttocks like a slap. When they finally let him through, most of them were more than amused.
"Blood hell, the Shifty Banana. What a cheeky bastard, that high elf." A guard chuckled. "Right, next! You must be, uh..."
"Slick-Teeth?" The guard looked confusingly at Tsleeixth. A quick pat down ended with a firm squeeze of the Argonian's tail. "Whatever, you Argonians all look the same. In you go, and do wash your hands, often."
When it came Alim's turn, the guards were almost bored with a standard looking human dressed in standard servant's attire. However, the mention of his role brought on a few looks.
"Can't say I envy you." Another servant said to Alim. "Personal attendant for one of those showoffs on high horses; they'll probably run you around all night, but hey, heard the tip's good, and maybe you'll get a bit of personal time
with this Lady Relyssa." The other servant left with a wink.
"Personal time" would be way down on Alim's to-do list. Gustav had pulled Alim aside right after the mission briefing adjourned, and secretly gave him the detail of his assignment to Relyssa. Gustav needed Alim to do whatever's necessary to gain Relyssa's trust, even if it might be illegal. "Keep tabs on her and use your discretion" was what Gustav advised. The only thing he forbid was getting intimate.
"She's too manipulative," Alim could recall Gustav saying, "and I already reserved the first dance with her."
The first person Tsleeixth encountered in the kitchen was another Argonian. She wore a cook's clothing, complete with a white apron and hat. When she noticed Tsleeixth, her eyes lit up.
"Ayy, another Argonian!" She exclaimed. She rushed over from her station and offered Tsleeixth a very much Breton hand shake. "You have no idea how long it's been since I've seen another one of us; most of them ran off last month with that Hist nonsense. I've never had tht stuff and-"
"Hey, quit talking!" The head chef ordered. "Back to work!"
"Sorry, I do get excited sometimes." The Argonian cook apologized, seemingly only to Tsleeixth. They approached a table with various vegetables on it, and she began cutting them.
"My name's Chops-Lettuce, because, you know." she gestured to the lettuce she was chopping. "Raised on lettuce and never had Hist sap myself, probably why I didn't get those weird dreams. What about you, friend?"
After a few minutes of conversation, Chops-Lettuce went to fetch another batch of vegetables. While she was away, two more cooks, a Breton and a Redguard, took places on each side of Tsleeixth.
"Another lizard, huh? You just don't learn how to stay in your swamp." The Redguard stabbed a knife into the table, dangerously close to Tsleeixth's hand. "I see how this is."
"That's right, you beasts came and took our jobs, jobs from honest, hard-working humans." The Breton slammed a meat clever down near Tsleeixth's other hand. "You better pull your weight, or you'll be the one getting chopped."