Through the gate we went, and charged for the magic items like always. Seems to be getting more expensive these days. I remember when it was 10 copper each to get through the door, and over half the population could not even afford that. Now it seems everyone has some extra change in their pockets. Just means more thieves are going to be running around and cutting open coin purses.
It seemed odd that Ollie was with me this time instead of with some dame wrapped around his finger. He always liked attention, and I was happy to let him have it. I put a lot of effort to make sure no one else gets to know me. Even though I run around a lot, and have absolutely no ability to stick to the shadows, I tend to not attract a lot of attention. Maybe I have just been lucky.
I was told to at least get in some of the games I knew I could do well at. Ollie insisted that I do the arm wrestling. I was able to win that one pretty easily but, as I knew it would, it attracted some attention. A guard now knows my face. I might have to make some changes soon.
Ollie aced an archery contest, although someone else was showing some promise with a crossbow. Some bard named Glim. He was a small little gnome that seemed to joke a lot. Funny little fella he is. There was another event that Ollie talked me into called Catch the Wench. I won that one as well, but it was rather close and the more I got into it, the more I found myself enjoying the cheering of the crowd. The last round got me a very large cheer, and a slap from the wench. Still, gold is gold, and I received the winning pot.
I saw Ollie in a foot race with some odd balls that didn’t make it half way, but one person in particular was able to keep up. I noted him as one of this towns more famous thieves, Restal. Its a good thing there is no contract out on him. I have been aware of his skill for some time, but I never actually thought he could keep up with Oliver. It was impressive to say the least.
The next time I saw Restal he was walking away from some kind of hammer game. Ollie of course chimed in and told me to try it. I think I over did it a bit, because when I hit the plate, the ball went up and a Thunderous Roar made every single creature in the cages go nuts. I guess I hit it too hard. The guy was stunned and gave me a weird look while handing me my prize. Definitely going to have to change my appearance.
After that, 8 bells signified that the main attraction was about to start. We made our way to the tent, and as Ollie was chowing down on a turkey leg, the Chimera came out. It was enormous, magestic, and… not real… I knew something was off because there was no shaking, no roars, no acid bath from the dragon head. I decided to detect magic on it, but to my surprise nothing came from the Chimera… it was behind the chimera that something was showing evil. I motioned to Ollie, telling him to be ready. When the show ended, I followed the evil presence out of the back and into another tent. Then the evil disappeared. I cut through the side of the tent, and decided to investigate. There were some spell components here that would have told me something had I paid attention to any spellcraft at all before now. I went to retrieve a witch who I had seen earlier do another game. She had said the words illusion before I heard another commotion behind me.
A salamander had gotten out of its cage, and that little Gnome named Glim was speaking to it. I could not understand a word but he was able to get it back in its cage before anything bad happened. Still, something is not right about this circus. Animals escaping, a serious evil presence showing up, and a chimera that was only an illusion. I felt that something terrible was about to happen, and unfortunately this intuition was normally not wrong.
I found the one who was said to be the chimera’s trainer and confronted her. She was a follower of Nethys, which was a diety of magic. She had said the chimera was not around right now, but when confronted about the fact that it was an illusion, she told the truth. The real facts were that this girl could conjure illusions and that was how they made most of their money. The chimera was nothing more than a major image.
Later that evening I found myself in a bar with Ollie and many others. I was getting tired and falling asleep when I heard a commotion. I was just about to chalk it up to another false alarm when someone shouted murder. I grabbed Zasel and ran outside to see what had happened. Sure enough, there was a body mauled by a beast. Many people were saying chimera, because of the acid burns and the tracks around the body. I would have gotten a closer look, but too many people were around and I could not get past the guards. Still, from what Ollie could tell me, there was no way a heavy chimera could make those tracks. The claw prints were too shallow.
We later heard that Jarazona was arrested for this crime. It seems really odd that they would arrest the trainer of a fake chimera for a murder. I later found out from Jarazona that she would rather die than hurt the circus’s reputation by saying the main attraction was nothing more than an illusion.
Still, this is a rather interesting investigation all of a sudden. Who would want this man dead? Why would they want Jarazona to take the fall? Why would they wish the murder to be so public? Why put so much effort into making it seem like a circus creature committed the crime? Why the chimera? There are other choices… Why release the salamander before committing the crime? Who is this really about; the victim, the entire circus, or Jarazona herself? So many questions, so little time…