For Kistal, the journey to Kalla would unsurprisingly go off without a hitch. People would worry about bandits on the roads, but truth be told, if the greedy merchants of Portea were good for anything, it was in the fact that they at least kept Portea's immediate trade routes clear of brigands that may try to steal their goods. If someone were to stay on the main roads leading away from Portea, they would normally have a fairly safe trip, as mercenaries could be seen keeping an eye out any time during the day and
night. Kistal, traveling at night, would see small squads of men at arms walking in a loose group with two or three lantern bearers. Lantern bearers would normally have a lantern hooked into their halbreds, so that the light was out of their eyes and was enough to fill the area around them in light as they patrolled, but should they lower their weapon, it would come unhooked so that they can fight. The lanterns were metal and easy to refuel over torches. Every now and then, a few of the friendlier squads would wave or greet as Kistal passed. They were smaller in number, and were either carrying wooden round shields with their alliance painted on them.
The two more prominent smaller groups tended to have shields painted in white, trimmed in green with a red lotus on them, or were a two tone of grey and cobalt, its insignia a hammer with fours wings. These groups belongs to the Lonnette and Dalkain families, nicknames the Red Saints and the Iron Souls. These mercenaries are usually volunteers or paid only what they need to maintain their gear. They aren't always professional soldiers, but they volunteer to serve so that there is some representation of their district's merchant families. Most had other jobs within the city or in the farmlands to tend to on top of their mercenary work.
Most of the time however, Kistal would run into large groups of heavily armed mercenaries moving in various disciplines of formation. the rougher looking ones could care less about their form, while the higher paid ones, usually farther from the city where more trouble would occur, marched their patrol in tight formation. This was the Calibris family's mercenaries. Well armed, maintained, and given all the funding needed to complete any task. The elite ones found marching further from the city has special golden crests on their helmets, their shield, as all the Calibris mercenaries carried, were kite shields, with the middle pained olive green, the edges trimmed in gold, and a gold insignia of a dagger pointed down to three rings at the tip as if it were touching water and making a ripple effect. While the earlier brutes had plenty to say about the satyr skipping town, the elites were steady and disciplined, allowing Kistal to pass without so much as a single word.
-Kistal would find himself arriving in Kalla on the same day as everyone else currently in Kalla-
The building Allonon arrived to was exactly as stated, though inside, it seemed to be a different tale. The lamps were out, some on the floor, tapestries ripped down, furniture upturned, cushions tossed about, pedestals collapsed to the ground in pieces alongside the shattered remains of whatever piece of art they held, be it a bust or pottery. It was a large ballroom made to both train, practice, and entertain, with a hallway in the back that lead to some living quarters, as many people also lived in their place of business here. There were a few bloodstains, minor at first, but progressively worse the further they got to the dark doorway leading to the hall. They were still fresh, as if just spilled only moments ago. At the door way itself, it looks like there were smears, as if something landed there and then drug itself inside. He could faintly hear someone crying from down the hall, though the door was closed and locked. The door however, was a simple thin wooden one, more for privacy than anything, and probably wouldn't stand up to much abuse.
Allanon made the quick decision to not request for Madame Valia with the scene before him. He immediately drew his sword at the sight of blood. This was too recent. He crept along following the blood trail with a focused expression on his face. He could hear a faint crying. Possibly the wounded person. Possibly someone else. He took a few moments to listen at the door and in the hallway. He wanted to hear if there were any threats still around before helping the injured.
When Allanon stepped closer to the door he was able to make out that the faint sobs sounded like they were coming from a woman, the faint flickering glow of fire light barely tracing the bottom edges of the door.
Whatever happened was recent, so whomever was responsible for this clear assault and battery could not have gone far. The last eight years had been almost nothing but a fight for survival spending every moment prepared for the worst. This door was the only way to further explore the building, so he immediately got to work on forcing it open. This would be the only way he could get answers.
Immediately upon pushing through the door he would see a body in the hallway on the ground. Upon inspection of his gear, it was a Calabris mercenary. There was a small ornate tri-bladed dagger in his chest, not part of their usual kit, Allanon should know for certain. The rooms to the sides were all empty, and at the end of the hall, there was an opening into a living room, with the legs of another body peeking around the corner. Whenever he decided to move up, he would see that the man was also dead, a blue silk veil wrapped around his neck, and the belt of his pants undone. There was a quick gasp as the crying stopped, just a few paces away was Madame Valia. She tried to stand, but fell rather quickly, trying to grab the lampstand to catch herself but it crashed to the ground with her. She had multiple injuries and bruises across her face and body, but the main was was her right leg that she just tripped up on. It was black from bruising in multiple areas. She was Varuk mostly, though her ears gave hint to something else being in her bloodline, maybe Sylve? And despite her title of 'madame', she actually seemed fairly young. "S-stay away! Leave me alone! Haven't you bastards taken enough!"
Allanon did not address the woman he assumed was Madame Valia immediately. He could tell she was not likely in immediate danger, but she would not be dancing anytime soon. He checked the body more thoroughly with an expression of contempt. A part of him wished he had been here in time to kill the Calabris merc. However, this man had a family. Did Allanon have the right to play executioner? Perhaps he had something that could give him more information than she could. Besides he wanted to give her some time to gather her wits."Be careful with that leg. Move the wrong way and your career could be permanently over."
Allanon finally addressed the Madame with a firm tone. "Tell me, what is the Calabris family doing? What business did they have with you?"
Valia shook her head, she was still weary of him and didn't let her guard down, but the man was already acting differently than the others. "Those men mentioned that name as well," she said shakily. "My career is already over," she mentioned lowly looking at her leg, her voice quivering still in pain, "but I'm not worried about that." she said. "My girls have been slowly disappearing the past two weeks...And... now these men....these men tried to take me away. At first as an offer to be some Calabris person's personal dancer... that they have been....'looking' for one to suit his desires. I can only imagine they had been taking my girls.... I refused to help them, and then...they did this to me and my home. Said if i couldn't dance for their lord, that i should...." she couldn't finish the sentence as she shook her head, *they tried to force me to... and... I... I snapped." she finished, her hands shaking, the hand that stabbed the other man in the hall still covered in his blood.
Allanon sheathed his sword after assessing the danger had already been dealt with. He wished his fellow Ironblade, Marik Kane was here. He was a gifted Isoli healer, but he was the only Ironblade in what would be considered a "safe" place. He had returned to Tundral to be under the protection of his people. Of all the Ironblades, Marik was the most secretive, and he was the only one to not tell anyone how he owed the Calabris family anything. There was no way he'd be here in Kalla anyways."I am Allanon,"
Allanon said with a level tone. "I am an enemy of the Calabris family. Let me help you to a healer. I can help you get somewhere to start over, but I'm going to need your help hunting down those bastards. Tell me everything you know about them."
"My name is Valia," she said, starting to calm down. She timidly held a hand out to him to help her up. She couldn't even touch the ground with that leg as it was, let alone walk on it. When he assured her that he was against the Calibris family why gave a pained smile, "I believe that would make the both of us. Ah, thank you..." she said as he helped her up. "I can't leave here. This is my home, live or die," she started about him mentioning starting over elsewhere. "I don't know much about this 'Calabris' family, other than what those men mentioned. When my students started disappearing, I was worried that they may have lost their desire to continue dancing. Though, when their family came looking for them, I grew worried. I guess these men, like for me, have been looking for dancers to enslave to this family you speak of."
Before helping Valia up, Allanon bound her wounded leg to the best of his ability to make sure any broken bones would not move and cause permanent damage. He made sure to make this clear as to not upset her further. He felt the same sentiment she had towards not leaving. "I'm afraid I do not know Kalla very well. I'll need your direction to a healer you trust."
He remained silent for a short while as he mulled over the information he had now. What they were doing was pretty equivalent compared to the work they had him to all those years ago. Even though he never worked any of their slave operations the odds were his team laid out a lot of the foundational work for their current operations. "If you can tell me everything you know about your students I may be able to track them down and rescue them from whatever is planned for them. Where did they live? What were their daily routines? Anything that can give me a clue."
Valia "Our healers are at the temple, beside the inn, close to the markets. People may undoubtedly have their questions..." she mentioned, noting that the site of him nearly carrying her out of here may draw quite some attention. "Though...it may be a bit safer there... As for my girls, they were all local and here in town, all Varuk, very talented. Aside from their duties at home with their families, the only main places they would visit would be here, the market, and the oasis for water."
Some of the older children scurried away at the proposal, knowing too well what promises like that could cause, awkwardly taking their younger siblings by the hand and running off, making it sound like another game. others were all to willing to share what they knew about the town, mostly what cool lizard they saw at the oasis this morning. Meanwhile, a man was leaning against a tree not to far off from her shop, one leg crossed at the ankle and his arms crossed. Ren would be able to instantly recognize him as Sahale, a broker, a person who delivers contracts for assassinations and other wetwork operations. Brokers tended to be retired assassins themselves, as they would be the best people to use to track other assassins to deliver jobs. This
particular broker was easily recognizable because he always seemed to find Ren no matter where she was, like he made it his personal business to be the only guy to deliver jobs for her. If she noticed him while talking to the kids, he would just smile and pull one arm up to wave, then cross his arms again. It wasn't till the kids eventually left the he sauntered his way over with that smug grin of his.
"Hey there sweet cheeks, been a while! It just so happens I wasn't looking for you this time, I was in the middle of another job! Imagine the odds!" he laughed. He pulled a fat pouch of gold out and plopped it on her counter. "BUT, I did
just so happen to acquire a contract you may be interested in, just about ten minutes ago really." He leaned in close. and whispered, "Some mercs tried to take the package they were picking up for a spin and got canned, need ya to clean house before the dirty laundry gets aired out and I mean as soon as possible
. The target is a beautiful half Varuk and Sylve woman with long hair, she is a dance teacher in town. House with the blue banners just down the road." He leaned back up and tapped his sheathed sword on his shoulder. "Its a shame for such a beauty to go to waste, female targets always leave bad tastes in my mouth. Anyway! Consider that the down payment, gorgeous, and the completion will be worth twice as much. Some guy named Calibitch or whatever is shellin it out. Take it while you can. Take care, doll face, I'll find ya when I need ya, or rather, when you need me~." With that, he went on his merry way towards the markets.