A Rat's Paradise

Title: A Rat's Paradise I
Time Period: June 11, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary:Strange behavior from Dornie's least popular denizens reveals the answer to at least part of the mystery of missing items.

It's that time of evening where the faintest remnants of sunshine cast a golden glow over the bottommost fringe of the sky where it meets the earth, but that small amount of light only serves to make the dark sky above seem all the darker in juxtaposition. It's not too late, just a few rounds into what amounts to happy hour at the Albatross for those who stopped by after work. But the streets are mostly empty; most people have gone home or to wherever it is they plan to spend their evenings, but for the few souls still on the road for whatever reason.

A horse's hooves sound their rhythmic gallop in the distance; a mother calls in the children playing just outside their home. The Albatross promises warmth and entertainment with its windows alit with light and the cheery refrain of a sailor shanty shouted rather than sung.

Sorcha's singing along to those sailor shanties on her way out, steps a little unsteady in direct correlation to the amount of alchol coursing through her system. Sorcha is after all, a seasonal alcoholic. There's two seasons in her world. Patrick and no patrick. Currently, she's in no patrick season which co-incides with increased alcohol consumption. A wrap thrown across her shoulders to ward off bugs and eveving coolness, she's brought out her singing voice and will be entertaining herself on the way home.

It is hard to tell if Leonard times his departures; he always seems to leave his evenings at the inn or pub so that he tails some unbeknownst person out the door. Usually people that have had a bit much, but sometimes not. Regardless, he's a few strides behind Sorcha when he toes out the door, fiddle case over one shoulder and the front buttons of his suit undone to open his shirt to the seabreeze. It's also, undoubtedly, easier to move like this when he is playing.

"None of those chaps have the same touch as you." Leonard almost skips up behind her, cheeks rosy, heels clicking against the stone when his long legs catch up. "Yelling isn't singing." Both eyebrows lift high on his forehead. "But you can't expect that much from sailors, can you?"

In the dim light, it's hard to make out just what it is, but a small creature darts across the road along the waterfront. The docks are nearby, and it's not unusual to see a wharf rat or two or three at this time of the evening, when the dockworkers and boatsmen are no longer bustling about.

What is unusual, however, is the glint of something metallic that catches in the light, just as the creature scurries out of sight into a hole in a nearby building — one known to be abandoned and empty, its windows and doors shuttered up last fall when its owner closed up the little bait shop he'd run there.

Singing is cut off with a bit of a yelp as Leonard sneaks up behind her. For shame, doing so, with a woman who is drunk and known to not care for or even be afraid of mages. Which would explain the cessation of singing and the stiffness in the woman's spine. Alchol, making her a little less genial with regards to things and people like that.

"sailors have great voices and great songs" It's tossed out, even as she gets a case of the ooh sparklies, at the rat darting into a building. WHich means she's detouring from her intended trip home, towards the building and the hole that it meandered into.

Sage, at least, is nowhere to be seen, but there is no question that she is around somewhere nearby. Possibly one of those blobs of black high on the edge of a building, or cajoling about with seabirds tucking in at night.

"Oh, I'm sorry." Leonard awkwardly apologizes a moment too late, just before she speaks and just after he laughs. "Quite…" He squints after her, pausing in midstep when she veers off towards the abandoned storefront. He saw the scurrying of critter, but was not this interested before; as naturally as a dog might, Leo becomes more interested when someone else seems to be, and follows. The ripple is a certain force.

As they draw closer to the abandoned shop, another shadowy thing, and yet another, each carrying something, disappear into that small hole. This close it is apparent that they are, indeed, rats, and there seems to be nothing otherworldly about them. The only thing curious is what they carry, and that they seem to be working together. Something silver glitters in one's mouth; another's rodent teeth are clamped on something cloth.

The hole itself, when Sorcha gets there, is just large enough for a moderately fat Norwegian to fit through — rat, that is, not one of Jorn Wartooth's countrymen, of course. The window above this side wall is boarded up.

"oh"

Rats. Sorcha's backing up, head tilted at the sight before them and smiles. "Mr Hightower! Look!" SHe's standing then, having been on her knee's rump in the air and looking in the hole. Now however, she's making for that window, digging fingers in between boards if possible and seeif her own meager strength might dislodge some so they can get a good look in.

"What in the-" Leonard is watching the rats, thankfully, rather than the woman on the ground trying to peek in the rathole. He is tall enough to look over her shoulder when she gets up again, and his expression is vaguely bewildered. A blink comes while she attempts to pry a board from the window. "Are you sure that's a good idea? You have no idea how many of them are in there…" His mouth presses flatter, green eyes darting from window to rathole. He decides seen enough that he will not let a damsel get attacked by a swarm of rats alone; Leonard tucks his fiddle case under one arm, and moves to help her.

Two black almond eyes watch from the opposite rooftop, Sage sitting fluffed against the air current.

The salten air and the harsh weather have done their damage and the wood boards have paid their toll; they break easily enough with the efforts of both Leonard and Sorcha, revealing a very dirty window.

Once rubbed a bit, it reveals the inside of the shop, which should be darker than it is, really. But it's lit dimly by a lantern in one corner that shines light on three sleeping pallets, and what amounts to quite a bit of treasure: necklaces, watches, silken handkerchiefs, leather-work knife sheaths and other motley items, all in a basket. It is here that the three rats seem to be dropping their items, before scurrying once more out of sight into the dark recesses of the room.

"Goodness! And here I accused Sholto!" There's another twinge of guilt before the drunken seamstress looks to Leonard. "We should get some men" Exaggerated nodding of her head, nearly in threat of banging it on the glass by doing so. "Oh! Oh! I bet my necklace is in there" More exaggerated nodding. "They can come, help us get this stuff squirreled somewhere and start getting it back to the right people!"

"Oh, well then. This makes perfect sense." The man at the window with her quips, rolling his shoulders forward and tilting his eyebrows back up again. "Are those cots?" Leonard is at threat of mashing his nose on the glass, before he leans away again, hand on the sill. "Maybe my tie pin." His expression bends into suspicion again and he leans back to peer in the window, one hand cupping above his eyes.

"Cheeky little buggers. But a basket? You don't see squirrels putting winter nuts into eensy satchels."