The Smallwood apartments are a spacious set of rooms on the upper floor of the Kitchen Keep which at the moment seems to be in the midst of a transformation. The masculine simplicity of the rooms have given way to a softer more feminine air evidenced by the multitude of beeswax candles on the mantle and the colorful Myrish carpet that decorates the floor. Around the edges of the room sits shelves of paints and other artists supplies except for one spot which is bare.
Seated in a sturdy if worn oaken chair by the fire, sits Ser Luthor Rivers a cup of wine in his hand. While nearby his squire Barion Smallwood lingers gloomily by the arrow slit. Both man and youth await the arrival of Ser Anton in a tense sort of silence.
Two sets of footsteps are heard in the hallway, walking steadily towards the doors of the Smallwood apartments. Stopping just outside, a loud knock is heard followed by a calm voice, “Anton Piper, here at the request of Ser Luthor Rivers, Warden of the Kingswood, requests permission to enter.”
Luthor looks up from his wine at the sounds of the footfalls and the knock. He pauses for a moment, chewing on his lip before he calls out. “Enter ser,” as he rises to his feet. Barion for his part detaches from the wall to come and stand next to his master while he waits the entry of the goldcloak.
Opening the door slowly and carefully, Anton walks in followed by a young boy of about 14 years. Anton is in his customary city watch breastplate and accompanying armour, outfitted with the standard goldcloak all watchmen wear; he is unarmed. The boy also wears a goldcloak (though of a much smaller size) while his tunic bears the emblem of House Rosby. Bowing his head at Luthor, Anton states “Ser Luthor, I received your message. How may I be of service?” As he finishes, the young boy coughs once, then stands at attention with his back straight and chest puffed out. Anton looks at him quizzically for a moment, before turning back to Luthor with a sigh. “This is my new squire, Edwyn Rosby.”
The bastard knight is dressed in his customary woolen blacks, without weapon. Though they look as though they have been slept in and the knight himself looks tired. “Well met my lord of Rosby,” he says with a nod to Edwyn. “Thank you both for coming. I will get right to the heart of things. Lady Pennei is missing and has been since the night before last.” The knight sinks down into his chair. “Her servants too, as well as some of her possessions and my gold. I need your help in finding them.”
A look of surprise comes and goes on Anton’s face before his professionalism takes over. Turning to Edwyn, he barks out “go back to the barracks and tell the Sergeant on duty I want a full company saddled and readied to move out immediately. I want messengers sent to all seven gates, thorough inspection of all outgoing carriages and wagons. Tell them to keep an eye out for jewelry and suspicious amounts of gold in particular.” As the boy opens his mouth in surprise at the sudden turn of events, Anton places a hand on his shoulder and gently squeezes, saying “move now. Ask questions later. Go!” The last word is like a whip, and Edwyn quickly turns around and runs out of the kitchen keep. Turning back to Luthor, Anton asks “where was the lady last seen and at approximately what time my lord?”
As Edwyn’s about to exit the room, Anton barks out another order “stop” and the boy halts in his tracks. Taking a deep breath, Anton considers for a moment, then replies, “it depends on what you believe is the cause of the disappearance my lord. If this is a kidnapping for ransom, then perhaps keeping it quiet might be best. I will send some of my trust men out to the Seven Gates on regular duty and ask them to keep an eye out for anything suspicious. In the meantime, we will investigate and see if we can discover who took her. On the other hand, if this is political, and maybe one of your enemies has taken her, then making it public will be best since it puts pressure on the other party and can help ensure she is not harmed.”
Luthor chews on that a moment. “I do not think any of my enemies have the will to go this far. So let us investigate this quietly, I have no desire to give them reason to cut their losses.” He settles back in his chair again and finishes his wine. “As to where she was last seen, my men were able to discover she and her tutor Allaro were seen the night before last at the Three Hill Inn, before riding off into the city. The innkeep said that when they left Allaro was drunk.”
Anton listens intently as Luthor speaks and when he finishes, Anton motions for Edwyn to come back. “Do you have any good trackers in your employ my lord? Two days later and the horses’ tracks will be faint, but we may get lucky and discover which section of the city they rode to. In the meantime, I will dispatch some of my trusted men on duty to the Seven Gates, they will keep an eye out for anything suspicious; and they can keep their mouths shut.”
“I do. And I can get others from amoung the king’s own huntsmen,” Luthor confirms. “But tracking in the city will be difficult.” He glances over at the bare shelves and then back to Anton. “It would be good to speak to the men on the gates two nights ago as well. Unless Pennei and her tutor took them with them, the gold and the paintings had to be taken from here.”
Frowning slighty, Anton asks “how close was the lady Pennei to her tutor? It appears as if her disappearance is somehow connected to him. If he was in trouble somehow, and perhaps needed gold urgently, would the lady Pennei help? And I will personally check with the guards on duty at the Bronze Gates of the Red Keep as well as the Seven Gates of King’s Landing to see if they saw anything suspicious two nights ago. Do you believe the lady to still be in the city?”
“Allaro and his daughter, Pennei’s maid Tycella have been near to Pennei’s only friends for the last five years. I believe if he were in some trouble she would help him. Though not without telling me.” He nods as Anton explains his plan, then answers. “I don’t know. I’ve found no trace of her in the city.”
“Did Tycella disappear as well? If not, we should speak to her first.” Anton pauses as if something’s just occurred to him and he turns to Edwyn, “keeping your mouth shut is one of the first lessons a good squire learns. I am glad you are a quick study. You will accompany me as I help Ser Luthor, but everything you see and hear must stay between us, understood?” Edwyn nods his head quickly, then stands off to the side, awaiting any new orders.
“Yes, Tycella is gone as well,” Luthor confirms. “And all reports say she wasn’t with Pennei and her father at the inn. If anyone in my household had a part in this, it is her. She hates me and uses Pennei cruelly.”
“And her possessions? Anything left?” Suddenly, Anton seems to notice something in the room and he looks down, at the Myrish carpet covering the floor. “Was Tycella the Myrish woman at your wedding? I seem to recall seeing her there. Is it possible the two of them have somehow spirited the lady Pennei away on a ship?”
Luthor’s face grows grim. “Yes, it’s possible. I asked around the docks, they said several ships set sail for the Free Cities these last two days. And yes, that was Tycella at the wedding; with the green hair and the scowl, though she’s Tyroshi.” For all the difference that makes if the three of them have set sail already. “As to her possessions, they seem to be there, though I do not know for sure if anything is missing. She’s been here less than a sevenday.”
“Then may I suggest a three pronged approach to our investigation my lord: first, the two of us, our squires and a few trusted men will journey to the Three Hills Inn and *question* the owners about the night in question. Second, I will also seek out some of the watch’s best trackers, and together with your own, they will attempt to discover which section of the city lady Pennei and her tutor rode for. Third, I suggest bringing in the hounds. If we still have some of Tycella’s possessions, the hounds can use them to track her scent. This will be very difficult in the city, but since she is not a native of Westeros, perhaps the hounds will have some luck following her unique smells.” Anton finishes and waits to hear Luthor’s thoughts.
Luthor considers the plan and nods. “The hounds are trained to hunt deer not women, but anything is worth a try at this point,” Luthor says after a moment. “And if you could put more men on the docks, just in case they haven’t left yet. I have my own men watching them, but an official presence might stop them from boarding all together.”
The bastard knight pushes up from his chair. “And yes, we can speak to the innkeeper again and see if he has more to add.”
“It shall be done. I will claim it is a part of the investigation into the thieves ring, that they may be trying to smuggle stolen goods out of the city through the docks and my men will conduct searches of all ships they deem suspicious.” Anton says in reply to Luthor’s words.
Luthor’s lips turn up at the edges as he claps Anton on the shoulder. “Thank you, I appreciate your discretion.” For a moment it looks like the Rivers knight is about to say more but he dismisses whatever thought had come about and instead looks towards the door. “We should get about this. I will send Barion and some of my men to secure the innkeeper. Will you meet us there when you pass the orders to your men?”
Anton nods and says “I will take care of the orders immediately. Edwyn and I will meet you at the Three Hills Inn when we are finished.” Turning and motioning for Edwyn to follow, Anton walks out of the apartments with a purposeful stride.
Barion speaks for the first time after Anton leaves. “You want me to arrest the innkeeper?” he asks. “What will you be doing?” Luthor looks at his empty wine cup a moment before tossing it aside to clatter on the floor beside the rug. “I am going to go tell Lord Massey, I lost his granddaughter.”