The silence after that exchange dragged on for a while as the three people focused on different parts of the room waiting till emotional echoes died away. Sariah fiddled with a hat that had the trademark purple along the wide asymmetrical brim. Asopt took out a set of prayer beads and began running through them. Kegan collected the empty brandy glasses and put them and the brandy away. After that Kegan turned back to the other two and decided to break the silence. “Sariah we might have a problem.”
This caused both Asopt and Sariah to laugh, breaking the tension even more. “You think so Kegan?” she asked.
“The person who hired those thugs was Duchess Lyda,” Kegan said.
“Really?” asked Sariah. She turned to Asopt. “Are you sure?”
Asopt nodded. “I was there when she hired out some of Gordo’s thugs to take care of a couple of easy targets,” he said.
“She was wrong about that,” Sariah said.
“Wait, I thought you said the ones killed were Warbashes’ goons,” Kegan said.
“Exactly! Gordo’s thugs killed Warbashes’ thugs. The Duchess was brilliant,” Asopt said.
Sariah groaned. “Okay, she wasn’t wrong about that, and here I was hoping,” she said.
“What were you hoping?” Asopt asked.
“Oh nothing,” Sariah replied, “I was just hoping the Duchess might have grown senile.”
“Do you know the Lyda?” asked Kegan.
“A long time ago,” Sariah said.
“I wonder why she would test you like that.” Asopt said.
Sariah placed the hat she had been playing with low on her face, covering most of it from the guys in the room. “I don’t have a clue. I’m surprised she even remembers me. ”
Asopt perked up. “I can ask around to find out,” he said. “I have people close to her that I can collect favors from.”
Sariah stood up quickly causing the hat to fall to the floor. “Sorry about that,” she said to Kegan. Sariah picked it back up. “No, don’t do that. We have a much more important fish to gut. We need to remove Duke Hurris from his ability to breath in a way that does not scream murder.”
“I think I better get out the brandy again,” muttered Kegan. “The king wants his own cousin murdered?”
“At least Kilncare does,” said Sariah, “and he has both the authority and pays the bills.”
“I don’t like it Sariah. It smells like a bad glordo carcass,” Kegan said.
“For once Kegan and I agree. Kilncare doesn’t want it to look like an assassination, but what about a different form of murder?” asked Asopt.
Sariah shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know. He definitely said no murder. He wanted an accident.”
“I hate it when people try to tell you how to do your job,” Kegan said.
“You do it all the time,” Sariah replied while she gestured at the hats scattered around the shop.
“You have that all wrong,” Kegan said. “I talk my customers into what I know is best for them.”
“So in other words you charm them into getting your way,” Sariah said.
“No! Don’t go there again Sariah. Now you’re being mean,” Kegan said.
“Never?” Sariah asked.
“Fine, once in a great while, but they are foolish not to listen to my advice,” Kegan replied.
“Exactly. That’s why we need to do it Kilncare’s way. Asopt, can you get a map of Hurris’ estate and any schedules of people who work there?” asked Sariah.
“That is quite achievable. Do you have a plan?” asked Asopt.
Sariah shook her head. “How can there be a plan? This is going to be an accidental death.”