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By Varric Tethras

The Café d'Or perched atop a hill in the Orlesian district of Hightown, with a view of the entire city so the wealthy patrons could keep an eye on the peasants toiling below. Lady Marielle studied the room across the rim of her cup. A few nobles sat at the delicate little tables, sipping tea from Rivain and whispering among themselves about the latest maneuvers in the Grand Game a thousand leagues away.

"What's this lead you have for me?" Donnen broke the silence, acutely aware that he stank of sweat and fish from the docks and was wearing a ripped, bloodstained coat in the most high-class café in Kirkwall.

"We're being followed, guardsman." The lady's voice was low; from the tone, she might have been discussing the weather. "The two gentlemen in the corner by the door."

Donnen picked up his teacup and gestured with it as if making a point while he turned slightly in his chair to look. The men were finely dressed but almost as out of place as he was: a large, sickly-pale Ander with a face full of scars and a tattooed Chasind with a stone dagger at his belt.

"A Chasind in a doublet? That's one for the history books," Donnen murmured.

Lady Marielle favored him with a half-smile. "Last night. A man came by the estate. He said he wanted to buy Seamus' collection. All of it."

Donnen sat up straighter. "The swords?"

"He said his name was Wagner." She sipped delicately at her tea. "He gave me an address in Lowtown in case I changed my mind. Those two have been shadowing me ever since."

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