Chapter 9

"Just you two?" A bored and tattered looking border guard yawned and showed Jasper and Taybor his black teeth. "No wives and such?"

"Just my brother and myself." Jasper nodded.

"What's your business in Crull?" The guard reeled off, parrot fashion.

"Personal. A family acquaintance has suffered a bereavement."

"Huh?" The guard looked at Jasper.

"We missed a funeral so we're here to offer condolences." Taybor translated.

"Hundred funerals a day here. Not many get the attention of Brightplain toffs." The guard made an attempt at reason.

"Look." Taybor said testily. "Call's wine vendors, State Three. The deceased was Murdoch Call, and we're visiting his son, Heindell. No he isn't expecting us as we only found out about the death recently. OK?"

"Suppose so." He accepted a few gold coins from Jasper and nodded them both through.

"Why didn't I think of bribing him." Taybor muttered as they strode out of the patrol grounds.

"We only have a business address here, Taybor. 117 Galyan Street. Any ideas?" Jasper looked at the maze of dirty, littered streets that sprawled out in front of them. They were hopelessly lost within ten minutes and were forced to go into a jeweller's shop to ask directions. A square slab of a man looked evenly at Jasper and Taybor when they entered his shop.
"We're looking for Galyan Street, sir." Taybor told the owner.

"Not very successfully." The man shrugged and Taybor felt his irritation rising rapidly.

"Obviously. Could you give us directions, please?" Taybor forced a smile.

"It's the Street behind this one. The back yards join on to one another. Where abouts? It's a long street."


"You're OK then!. It's directly opposite here, through the back way. I share a yard with 117." The man smiled.

"Excellent! May we cross through your back yard?" Taybor asked.

"This isn't a public thoroughfare. Walk round." The man sniffed and Taybor emitted a growl.

"Thank you." Jasper butted in loudly. "That's fine. Thank you very much Mr....?"

"Debyal. Reef Debyal." Jasper nodded and pushed Taybor out of the door.

"Arse." Taybor cursed as they set off down the street. "I've a mind to make his face into a thoroughfare."

"Oh stop moaning." Jasper laughed. "It's only round the corner!" As it happened, it took a whole ten minutes to walk down the street then double back along the next one. Number 117 was a sorry looking building with peeling paintwork and dirty windows. Taybor nodded in satisfaction when he saw six bottles of Hellion brew in the window. The man behind the counter was tidy and smartly dressed.

"I'm looking for Mr. Call." Jasper said.

"Oh you are, are you? Why?" The man looked up from his books.

"It's regarding the late Mr. Murdoch Call. I'm looking for his son, Mr. Heindell Call."

"Well you've found him. What ... " There was a rustling of a curtain from behind the counter and Heindell turned round

"Murdoch? Who wants Murdoch?"

"It's OK, mother. Come on, back through where it's warm. I'll talk to the gentlemen." Heindell steered Petra back through the curtain but she wriggled away from him. "Mother, please."

"Oh pish, Heindell! Pish I say!"

"Come on, mother. Please excuse my mother. She sometimes has rather alarming episodes." Heindell apologised and Jasper and Taybor nodded politely.

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