Echoes of Invasion: There’ll Be Heledd to Pay | Scene 27

Out in the courtyard, Tric begins to climb to his feet. As he does so, he sees a small knife lying on the ground at the base of the tree. It is similar to the one Heppa pulled out of his chest but also to ones owned by someone else, someone who keeps falcons. Thinking it best for the law not to find it, Tric picks it up and slips it in his side pouch without a word. Heppa continues looking at the roof, but she spares some attention for her cousin, offering to take a closer look at his knife wound. Tric pushes treatment off for now. “We’re both alive and moving. We’ve got to get to Henrick! That collapsed on him!”

The archers call down from the roof, “We got all the guys! Roof’s clear.”

“Courtyard clear,” Tric coughs back. “Henrick! You all right?”

“She’s still breathing,” the stalwart sergeant replies from the dark dust cloud. “We’ve got to bring her in.”

Tric volunteers Heppa’s medical services and notifies the officer in charge that Sleidr fell down the well. Henrick issues orders to check that out, and some javelineers meet Tric where the thief was last seen. Tric looks down the well, but given how deep it is and how dark the night has become, he sees nothing at first. Then it occurs to him to light a torch, which he then drops down. This reveals the well to be deeper than he expected, but he still cannot tell Sleidr’s fate.

“Oh, man,” one of the javelineers says, “who’s gonna…” She looks at her companions.

“Most of that wall hit me!” another replies. “I’m not climbing down there!”

While they continue to bicker, Tric pulls out his bow and nocks an arrow. Shooting down into the well to analyze the sound of what the arrow hits—squishy, hard, or wet—seems a very elvish thing to him. As he lines up his shot, Mate lands on the side of the well. The magpie looks down into it and then back up at Tric, announcing his opinion of this plan: stupid, stupid. “Shut up! I’m trying to listen. Be careful or I’ll send you down there next!” Tric warns him, waving the arrow at him in admonishment. “Should’ve gotten an owl,” he mutters as he nocks it again. His shot flies straight down the well, and he hears the distinctive thwack of it impacting flesh. There is no corresponding groan, though. Satisfied that Sleidr is at best unconscious and there is no need to rush, Tric puts away his bow and steps back from the well for a moment. His eyes alight upon a few more small knives on the ground nearby. The javelineers have not seemed to notice them. Tric casually crouches down to adjust his boot, picking up two small knives in the process. He suspects he knows who the owner is and plans to return them later.

When Tric straightens up, a lie ready on his lips should he be asked about the knives, he finds the javelineers still debating what to do. “So, do you think this guy is dead?” Tric asks. “A fall from that height?” The guards look at each other and shrug. “Let’s find out for sure.” He volunteers to be the one to climb down but first asks about a rope. He does not want to end up like Sleidr himself, after all. The archers are newly arrived in the area, fresh from the roof, so the javelineers borrow their gear. As they set up the rope, Tric psyches himself up. “Why, yes,” he tells his audience, limbering up his muscles, shaking them out, “while elves prefer climbing in trees, and tunnels are not our forte, I spent some time with the dwarves, you see, and gained some mastery over those as well.” 

Feeling more confident, he takes hold of the rope and begins walking down the interior of the well. He knows the Rats work in the tunnels underneath the city, so he looks around carefully as he descends, just in case Sleidr had backup. Along the way down, he finds a worked opening in the side of the well. He skirts around it warily, but there is no sign of other people about. It seems Sleidr was trying to flee and failed to safely make it to his backdoor. The thief lies near Tric’s torch at the bottom of the well in soggy ground. Tric’s arrow is stuck in him, but it appears he was dead before that hit, given the odd angle of his head. “Can’t have a dead body in a well,” Tric mutters, having already dealt with his fair share of polluted water recently. He ties the end of the rope around Sleidr’s body and gives it a yank for the javelineers to pull up the corpse. “Order up!” he calls, standing atop it.