Donnen Brennokovic searched Comte de Favre's office. The comte lay dead, murdered while armed and barricaded inside his own home. The servants' rooms were all empty, and from the pulled-out drawers and abandoned trunks, they had been sent away in a hurry. The comte had clearly expected trouble, and trouble had come to call.
The comte kept all of his letters. Decades of correspondence sorted by, apparently, kingdom of origin filled his writing desk. Donnen rummaged through them, looking for darker ink, fresher pages, anything that might indicate that it was recent.
And then came the shattering sound of someone kicking in the front door.
"Hey, Milord Fancypants! Get your ass down here!"
Jevlan and Donnen ran for the foyer.
A woman stood over the splintered door, her eyes glittering brighter than the daggers in her hands.
"You there!" she snapped at the guardsmen. "Where's the Comte de Fullofit? We need to have some words. One of them will be 'coin,' and another will be 'now.'"
"Kirkwall guard!" Donnen barked back at her. "This is a crime scene! Identify yourself."
"Guards, are you?" she smirked, squinting up into the dark towards him. "No suits of armor outside. Man poking around a noble's house in the dark. This does look like a crime scene."
Donnen didn't flinch. "Your name."
"Belladonna. Captain Belladonna, of the Dragon's Jewels." She executed a florid bow that somehow managed to be insulting. "Where's the damned comte?"
"He's dead," Donnen said, watching her reaction. "You wouldn't know anything about that, would you?"
She cracked a wry smile. "Trust me, sweet thing, if I were going to kill him, I'd have waited until he paid me first."
"What was your business with the comte?" Jevlan spoke up, startling Donnen. He'd almost forgotten his partner was there.
"Cargo transport." She glowered at the recruit. "He hired me to deliver some antiques and I've been sitting at anchor for a fortnight without being paid." She peered up into the dark balconies overhanging the foyer and shouted, "Anybody here? You want this rubbish, come to the docks tonight and pay me fifty sovereigns for it. Otherwise, I'm dumping it in the sea." With that, she turned on her heel and strode away.