Check out the start of the series.
Brent stopped by the small flat and delivered Gwen and Owin a large loaf of bread, some salted meat, and some cheese. He left almost as quickly as he arrived.
In the name of caution, Owin ate slowly before he and Gwen started searching the room. Initially, they did not turn up any indication something had been planted. “It has to be someplace obvious enough to be found,” Owin explained quietly to Gwen. “But not too obvious.”
“Unless they have someone in the Guard who will ‘find’ it when they search,” she countered.
Owin frowned. “Great, now you are sharing your happy thoughts with me.” With a shake of his head, he pushed the bed back against the wall.
Gwen smiled at him. “It’s only fair that I make you worry as much as you often make me.”
Owin did not return her smile. “Oh, I worry a lot more than I show.”
Gwen nodded her head and then narrowed her eyes. “Pull the bed back out,” she said as she knelt on the floor. As Owin complied, she crawled forward and pushed on a board next to the wall and grinned when it shifted, leaving one end rising up slightly above the level of the floor.
With her dagger, she jammed the point into the end of the board and used the extra leverage to work the board out of the floor. The board fit tightly against its neighbors, but once she lifted the end enough to get her fingers around it, she pulled it free. After taking a glance at the end, she commented. “Someone’s used a dagger on this one before.”
“What did you find?” Owin asked, coming around behind her.
“I saw the end of the board sticking up after the leg of the bed moved across it.” She handed the board to Owin and then leaned forward to look down into the narrow opening. She wrinkled her nose and peered into the darkness.
“Anything in there?”
Gwen moved her head from side to side and then turned back to Owin. “I can’t tell, it’s too dark in there. There might be spiders.”
“What?” Owin asked; his eyebrows raising on their own. He knelt down himself and gently pushed past her. “Really? Spiders?” He slid his right hand into the opening and fished about for a moment before pulling out a leather bag.” It clanked and shifted as coins slid across each other inside the pouch.
“The rest of our payment?” Gwen asked, sitting back on her heels.
Owin turned and dumped the contents onto the top of the bed that he had dragged out of the way. Numerous small coins spilled across the blanket. Included in the pile sat a fragment of parchment.
“What does it say?” Gwen asked.
Owin picked out the parchment and frowned. It held a single name: Lord Natheniel. Handing it to Gwen, he turned back to the bed and spread the coins out as he counting their value. “It looks to be almost ten crowns here. I see coins from a variety of cities, but mostly from Rhyl and further south.” He looked over at Gwen. “Which will implicate the Duke. Even the leather is stamped with the mark of Warnek. A very popular tailor in Rhyl that I worked with in the past,” he added for clarity.
“So we are certain of the setup,” she said. “What do we do now?”
Owin flipped through a few more of the coins and then picked up a larger one and shook his head. “A mark from Duke Ravigar. They are pouring it on thick.” He held the roundish coin out to Gwen. The crest of the duke stood out plainly on the bronze coin. “You won’t see many of these about. The Duke doesn’t like to give out favors to people.”
Gwen pursed her lips. “What’s it worth?”
“Not much to us. If one of the Duke’s men came across us and we needed to buy some time or a favor, we could present it. However, once they reporting it up to the Duke for confirmation, we’d be had. Depending on the situation, they might even hold us until they were able to confirm we were in the Duke’s favor.”
Gwen slid forward and looked at the pile of coins on the bed. “Well, the rest would double our money and then some. Do we take it?”
Owin considered the odds. The money was planted early to make sure they would not have to do it later. However, someone might still come by to confirm it had not been removed, and if it was, they would know we were on to them. Plus, the fact that there is so much here would incline people to check to make sure it wasn’t gone. “No, we’ll leave it for now, but we will take it before we are done in Solva.” He gathered up he coins, the mark, and the paper and returned it all to the pouch. He put it back into the hole and then pushed the board back into place.
“Good work,” he told her as he stood up. “Now, let’s go spend some of our other money. We need to get you some nicer clothing. Hopefully, a tailor might have something on hand that will fit you. Then we will purchase some paper and ink and I’ll write you a note to take to Duchess Emilia’s man in town. It’s time we were on the offensive.”