30th of Harvestmere, 9:42 Dragon
We followed the dwarf merchant (named Kenadrin, apparently) back to his caravan, with Enna running off somewhere again along the way. During the trip, we got a bit of his story, and “persuaded” the leader of the kidnappers — bloke named Lendrid — to tell us what he knew. So far as I can piece together, Kenadrin and his brothers were smuggling a shipment of raw lyrium from Orzammar to Val Royeaux, courtesy of some dwarf crime organization called the Carta. The dwarf says they got the stuff legitimately — well, as legitimately as one can acquire something from a cartel, I suppose — while Lendrid says he and his boys were told the stuff was stolen, and they were planning on ransoming Kenadrin for it. It seems the whole thing is kind of moot, though, because when we arrived at the camp, we found the cooking fire doused, the wagon ransacked, the lyrium gone, and Kenadrin’s two brothers lying in their bedrolls with cut throats. The evidence we found indicated that a single person had done all this, that they clearly knew what they were looking, and that they had hopped on a horse for Val Royeaux.
As you can imagine, we found all this to be a mite… curious, and we asked Kenadrin some very pointed questions about what happened here. Apparently, the little shitstain was SUPPOSED to be on guard duty, and decided to douse the fire and leave his two brothers ASLEEP AND UNGUARDED while he nipped off to Halamshiral to have a drink. Personally, I was ready to wash my hands of the whole affair and leave him to his fate right then and there, but Legnar’s dwarven loyalty and the promise of a hefty reward for getting the lyrium back kept us in the game. I also did my fair share of snarking at Lendrid that apparently his gang had sent him and a dozen of his mates to kidnap one dwarf, while also sending a single person to take out two other dwarves and steal their actual objective; he retorted that his gang weren’t the ones that did this (which makes much more sense, if I’m being honest), and by this point he seemed as interested as we were to find out what the hell was going on. Since our mystery man (or woman?) had apparently already left for Val Royeaux, we decided to press on overnight so as not to lose too much time. We also left a big arrow made of Lendrid’s maul and crossbow, along with a bunch of rocks, for when the rest of his gang inevitably came after us. Hopefully, the fact that we’re actively showing them which way we’re going will clue them in that we want to chat, not fight. (That, or they’ll think we’re just being a bunch of arrogant arseholes….)
Val Royeaux is… beautiful, no other word for it. Got to hand it to the Orlesians, they know how to build a damn fine-looking city! Daryel and I went to go ask the guards if they’d seen our mysterious killer, while the others (including Lendrid, who had apparently slipped his bonds at some point) decided to go hit up the bars for information. I had a reasonably friendly chat with the gate guards, who informed me that they couldn’t just let some random outsider know who was on duty that night, and were only a little pompous about it. Legnar apparently wasn’t as lucky, though, and apparently got himself banned from the nicest tavern in the city. Thankfully, there was a slightly-less-upscale tavern (which still puts anything you’d see in Ostwick to shame) where the bartender was kind enough to give us room and board in exchange for a good story, which our talky dwarf was more than happy to provide. I get the feeling the barkeep felt sorry for the poor foreigners that showed up on his doorstep, since he recommended we use the coin we’d saved to pick up some more appropriate clothing. Me, I’ll enjoy looking, but I’m going to avoid buying anything here as long as I can; Orlesian prices being what they are, I’m pretty sure all the gold in my pocket would last me a day, at most.