After discreetly asking around, Málean and Roland end up standing outside of a very seedy looking bar. The whole structure appears to lean to one side, and the dual swinging doors sway back and forth subtly in the wind. The shouting and drunken merriment that comes from inside sounds promising.
Málean, unsure of what specifically they are supposed to do here, looks to Roland to make the first move.
Roland sees Málean hesitating, while he himself was doing the same because a building looked about ready to collapse as to say something of the sort that would likely frequent such a place. Somehow the sight of his companion looking to him spurred him on. Perhaps it was easier to lead when others expected you to do so. "Come on, let's get this over with. I don't like the looks of this anymore than you, but we've a task to do." He walks up and strides through the door, seeking to project confidence he did not actually feel. Establishments like this tended to attract those who might prey on the weak.
The interior of the establishment is not really any better than the exterior. The tables are scarred with ware and the floor sticks to the bottoms of their shoes.
No one gives the two men any more than a glance as they walk in; everyone's caught up in their own activities. A young woman stumbles into Málean accidentally, then continues on her way giggling. The barkeep messily sloshes drinks into wooden tankards and sends them down the bar. The back fee tables host various games of chance, most with dodgy looking characters holding hands of too many cards. Discreetly finding a noble in this sort of place will be an interesting challenge, as no one sticks out like a sore thumb.
"The name was Ricrose, right?” asks Málean. “And did we get a description of the man?"
"Yes, it is, and I am just realizing I forgot to ask for a precise description." As they walk in, Roland tries to casually scan the faces in the tavern to see if he can pick out any family resemblance to Arabella or her father as well as anyone who's clothes look like they may have been fine at one point—though they likely might be soiled and shabby now. He approaches the bar keep and orders two tankards of ale and settles in at the bar to wait for them. He had no real intention of drinking but was trying to blend in for now. Out the side of his mouth he whispers to Málean, "Look for family resemblance. I'll ask the barkeep if needed but would rather avoid involving anyone else."
Keeping a low profile, the pair scan the room for anything that might point to the man they are looking for. However, no one catches their immediate attention. Roland is forced to resort to speaking to the barkeep. “Aye,” the man says. “He was in ‘ere earlier. Sat down an’ played a ‘and of cards an’ left.” He makes a gesture to one of the back tables where the dealer is a slender man with a gash on his brow.
Roland nods his thanks and turns to Málean. "I'll handle this, you just watch my back. I don't expect trouble, but in a place like this, you never know." He then waits until they appear to be in between hands and approaches the indicated table, sits in a free seat, and says, "You mind dealing me in?"
Málean stands behind Roland watching the game. He clutches his "stick", hoping he won't have to use it.
The man nods as Roland sits and begins to deal him in. “You don’t look like you two belong here,” he states clearly. “So you must be looking for something.”
Roland nods. "A perceptive man. I am looking for a man. Ricrose. I hear tell he played cards with you earlier."
“Ah. Well, what’s it worth to you?”
Roland pauses as if considering. "Ten gold suffice?" Málean's eyes widen slightly at the sum being proposed for the information.
The man studies Roland, then nods. “Alright.” He stretches a hand across the table.
Roland slides over five, then jingles the purse. "Half now, half when you tell me what you know about where we can find him."
The man scoops the coins over. “I told him earlier this evening of an interesting purchase he may want to make in New Asphyxten. Product moves quickly in that area, given the expanding industry, so he left immediately. Should be back in a few weeks.”
Málean leans down to Roland. "Seems like that's as far as we're going to get here. We should get back. If we're lucky the black avian has already gotten the antidote, if bit I'd be able to help him mix it together".
Roland nods and hands over the other half of the promised gold, then leaves with Málean to return to Arabella.
In a dangerous political climate, several expeditions are made to the infamous Wilds in hopes of expanding the country, Urbane, and avoiding an all out civil war. But, when the lord in charge of the excursions is almost assassinated, tensions increase and put new pressures on the brave explorers.