You are waiting in the sparsely decorated lobby of the Red Bearded Dwarf, although what furnishings there are in the office are of fine quality. Morna Morosini sits behind a desk of light wood, which blocks access to a large double office door behind her. A small scrivener’s cubby recesses into the wall to her left, and seems neatly kept. The area between her desk and the front door is filled with four exceedingly large chairs, each apparently stuffed with extra padding and covered in a fine silk. They look most comfortable, and are arranged around a handwoven floor rug of deep purple, and are currently filled with Thrash, Wulfe, Bodger and a middle-aged man with dark hair and a healthy build that Bodger has introduced to you as Brok Dormio.
A map of the Iron Kindgoms hangs from the wall to your left. It is textured to show the geography in bumps and ridges, and is one of the most fascinating representations of Immoren you have seen. It is currently be studied by the infamous bounty hunter, Birk Kurgan, a man in his mid-40s, dressed in worn tailored plated and a long black cloak and dull black boots, carrying a large satchel on his back. A sword hangs from his right hip, a golden pistol from his left hip, and matching pistol is tucked under his right arm. A nasty looking trench knife is strapped to his right leg. His dyed-blue hair is his calling card.
You note a small service cart sits to the woman’s right, containing crystal goblets and a number of fine vintage wines and liquors, and several juices. You do not notice any other entrances or exits.
You’ve spent the last few minutes catching up on each other’s stories, and it is now about 10 minutes after the appointed meeting time. Birk Kurgan stomps over to Morna’s desk and knocks on it to get her attention. Morna looks up from her cross stitch. “Yes, Mr. Kurgan?”
Kurgan points with his finger to the ad in the newspaper and bluster, “Now see here. You said to be here an hour after sunrise, ‘sharp.’ Where is this Mr. Davos? If he’s so insistent about being on time, why isn’t he here!”
Morna picks up a slender white tree branch on the desk and starts to chew on it. (Lok knows it as a branch of the phytora tree, which is a mild stimulant.) “Mr. Kurgan, Mr. Davos is a very busy man. I’m sorry if he is inconveniencing you.” Smack. Smack. “He assured me he would be here this morning, but it is possible he was delayed by some urgent matter.” Smack. Smack. “I’m sure if you have more important things to do, Mr. Davos will happily employ these other gentlemen.” She gives a long draw on the tree branch, then resumes chomping on it.
Kurgan looks at the assembled crowd in the room, and glowers at Lok. “Give me some of that juice,” he grumbles, and Morna happily walks to the cart to pour it.
You briefly wonder if Birk might be the sort of guy you could just muscle out of the picture, but while Lok has no respect for Kurgan as an investigator, he knows it would be folly to engage him in a physical altercation. Lok has no illusions about Kurgan’s ability to be brutally savage.
Time passes, and you begin to debate how long you should stay. You begin to suspect it’s some sort of test — of patience, of skill… or something else. Brok chimes in. “I’ve had to wait a couple of hours before for Mr. Davos, but it’s always been worth it.”
You consider entering Davos’ office. The double office door of Mr. Davos’ office has two key locks and sixteen bronze pegs protruding from a plate on its face. The locks themselves are of average quality. The problem is, you must enter the correct combination of pegs on the keyplate, and with the newness of the lock, you can’t tell even tell how many pegs are in the combination. When you ask, Morna says, " He said you could try to open his office door. Well, he didn’t actually say it like that. He said, ‘ If anyone tries to open my office doors, don’t stop them.’" She lowers her voice, although you know everyone in the room can still hear her. “Personally, I think it’s some kind of test.”
As you descend further into argument about what to do next, Lok realizes what has been bugging him: Whoever Davos is, he is obviously a man of means and intelligence. He crafted an elaborate series of meetings with everyone here, appealing specifically to their personalities, all designed to maximize the likelihood that you would all be here at this specific time and place. But why would he spend so much energy to get you here, and then not be here, himself? Why instruct Morna to do everything she can to keep you here? It’s almost as if… this whole thing is not about making sure you were here at the appointed time… but making sure you weren’t somewhere else!
You decide to head out, and Morna runs out from behind the desk, begging with you. “Please, please, please don’t go.” She grabs Pascal by the arm. “Please wait. Mr. Davos said I should do my best to keep you here, that it was very important that you not leave the office.” That seals it. Everyone heads out the door, racing to their new lodgings at Rivers Rest.