The nobles of Hightown like to imagine that petty crime can only happen in the dank shadows of Darktown or maybe the crooked alleyways of Lowtown between the Alienage and the poorest neighborhoods. Their lofty, ivy-walled avenues could never be the site of something as crude as a mugging or a simple assault.
The Ander came at him first, dropping down from the balcony above his head. While Donnen tried to back out of his reach, the Chasind loomed behind him, clamping an enormous, vise-like hand on his shoulder. The Ander's follow-up punch just below his ribs knocked the air from his lungs.
As the Chasind lifted him up by his coat, Donnen got back enough of his breath to say, "You work for Wagner? I need to give him a message."
This earned him a skeptical look from the Ander, but the Chasind set his feet back on the ground.
"Tell him I have his sword. He can meet me in the quays at midnight to settle on the price." For a long, nervous moment, Donnen watched a variety of expressions pass over the Ander's scarred, greyish face before the man nodded. Another long moment, and both Ander and Chasind walked away, leaving him alone in the alcove.
With the sun just setting, there was only one place left that Donnen needed to go.
The tavern in the center of Lowtown sat in its own tiny moat of spilled ale, vomit, and the seawater the owner flung at the walls in a half-hearted attempt to scour the seagull crap from the building. Donnen, like nearly every guardsman who drank at The Hanged Man, walked through the door to a frantic chorus of "Put it away! Hurry!" He tried not to smile and completely succeeded when the brooding, white-haired elven bartender greeted him with a murderous glower. "Guardsman."
Donnen placed a handful of copper coins on the bar. "Keep the ale coming, Ferris. I've got some time to kill."