“Emergency! Emergency!” Lahalid leapt from her horse as she approached the gate to the Shieldhouse. She announced her name, rank, and station to the guards at the door. It seemed the town criers hadn’t yet spread the word of the high priestess’s disappearance this far, judging by their languid posture.
“It’s critical I speak with Captain Khousim. There’s an emergency at the temple that demands attention from the highest ranks.”
“The door-watcher wants to see the Captain, is it? What, did someone spit in the purification basin?” One of the guards snickered and ribbed his companion. Lahalid rolled her eyes with an exasperated sigh and shoved him out of the way. The other guard let her past and gave his partner a reproving slap on the back of his head as she went.
Lahalid pushed her way in to the Captain’s office. Once in the door, she stood at attention and snapped a salute. “Sir! Lahalid, lieutenant of the temple guard reporting! There’s been a terrible emergency, sir!”
Alehira looked up from her work on the High Side murder case. “What is it, lieutenant? I’m in the middle of a murder investigation, here. Can it wait?”
Suddenly feeling the eyes of everyone in the room on her, Lahalid felt nervous. It was her first time actually speaking to the Captain, and she wasn’t sure what the proper protocol was. Nevertheless, she pressed on.
“Sir, I’m afraid the high priestess is missing. A group of… erm… mercenaries confronted her in her chambers, only it wasn’t her, you see, it was… well it was someone else, but made to look like her. With magic, of course; we wouldn’t be so daft as to mistake someone in makeup for the priestess. And that man – that is, the impostor – is dead now, but we still don’t know where the priestess is. Ma’am.”
Alehira straightened herself up where she stood at this news. “Hells,” she muttered under her breath. “Always it’s more complications…” She looked down at the case on her desk. There had to be a connection. She’d been a guard for too many years to ignore that instinct. “You three,” she said at length, pointing to three senior guards in the room. “Return to this crime scene and search the place again for anything that would link the murder there to this case. Ached, you’re heading the murder case now. You three, come with me. We’re going to comb the temple with Lieutenant Lahalid. Lieutenant, I’ll defer to your wisdom on this case until you’ve gotten me up to speed on it. Inform the gate watches they’re to inspect thoroughly all persons and cargo moving in and out of the Shore. The last thing we need is someone smuggling out our high priestess.”
Lahalid swelled with pride as she rode out with the Captain. Her message was delivered. All would soon be well.