Disclaimer 1: This is fanfic. That means I do not own any of it. I just borrow it to play with for a little while and let people see the pathetic results if they really want to.

Disclaimer 2: I'm not making any money from it. It's just for fun.

Disclaimer 3: What isn't borrowed is all made up. None of this is real or most likely at all realistic. Please don't trust any of the information in here. Most likely you know more about whatever I'm writing about than I do.

Disclaimer 4: Attitudes, views and opinions expressed by the characters or in the story are not necessarily those of the author. Even when writing Science Fiction or Fantasy I do not tend to attempt to create perfect/better worlds in which everybody gets a happy end ... or whatever is best for them. Please accept that some characters will have a bad ending or be unhappy.

Disclaimer 5: I intend no insult to anyone. If I offend anyone I'm very sorry. Please understand that it was an accident as I tend to be very clumsy in these things.

Disclaimer 6: If my characters' conversations seem odd or they appear to be talking past each other the latter might occasionally be intentional, but most likely it is an accident and I'm not aware that they are. It's just my bad communication skills.

Sequel to For Half The Price, begun and abandoned ... ages ago.


"Jarlaxle and his vermin have gone too far!" thundered matron Triel Baenre. "I will not tolerate them anymore! I will wipe those insolent rats out once and for all! I will ..."
The old priestess who witnessed this outburst did her best to seem attentive while she was blocking out the tirade. Triel had been going on about this for almost two month since Jarlaxle's trickery had caused her throne to explode. The incident might have cost the first house of Menzoberranzan the favor of their dark goddess Lloth if it hadn't already been lost at that time. As things stood they had only suffered besides the material damage a public loss of face and of some priestesses and soldiers that could easily be replaced. After all the other big houses had suffered much worse losses to a mysterious attack from the swirfneblin that nobody seemed able to explain. The priestess wondered though what Jarlaxle might know about that matter.
Triel raged on knowing very well that she was helpless against the Bregan D'aerthe as long as she remained clueless about where to find them. "Vermin, they are! Dirty little worms that..." suddenly she broke of.
Startled the priestess raised her eyes to stare at her. Triel was standing in the middle of her new smaller throne hall one hand over her open mouth frozen in mid curse.
"Matron?" the old woman asked. "Are you all right?"
At that Triel moved again. She grabbed the priestess by her shoulders and shook her. "All right?! Of course I am all right! I have the perfect solution! Yes I will finally get those little rats! I will find every last one of them! I need to undertake a little journey. Arrange for an escort equipped for an expedition into the Underdark right now. Go!"
As she ran from the room the old priestess wondered whether Triel had finally gone mad.

Dinin slowly limped back toward the city from the academy. The crippled beggar was his favorite disguise when he needed to walk through Menzoberranzan unnoticed. As Jarlaxle had taught him long ago nobody paid any attention to cripples who didn't have the good taste to die.
The mercenary smiled to himself as he remembered those first lessons now. How Jarlaxle had laughed at his first unwilling attempts at pretending to be injured. That laughter had seemed even more frustrating than the indignity of disguise itself back then. But now, so many years later Dinin was well aware that it had served to spur his halfhearted attempts without resorting to the brutal methods of teaching usually employed by the drow.
Indeed it had made him one of the groups best spies. So good in fact that Jarlaxle had dared to send him up to the academy itself where one single slight mistake might easily lead to discovery by the priestesses of Lloth and a slow painful death.
With his usual cockiness Dinin had fulfilled is assigned task, to watch every step of Gromph Baenre, the arcmage and was now returning to report to Jarlaxle after leaving another young soldier disguised as a servant to continue the observation.
He still didn't understand why Triel Baenre was paying them so well for a simple observation of her brother, especially after the many treats and curses she had hurled at them after her latest experiences with Jarlaxle's cleverness. Had she really forgotten or forgiven the damage to her home so soon? Dinin doubted it and, more importantly, so did Jarlaxle. Another problem was that Bregan D'aerthe had been unable to find out where she had been during the entire last month. All that was known to the mercenary band was that she had left the city by the eastern gate accompanied by almost two hundred soldiers and returned by the western gate only recently. The very next morning she had summoned Jarlaxle and hired him and his band to observe her brother. This they had been doing for over a week but nothing out of the ordinary had occurred. The only news their undertaking had brought them was that Gromph had a new lover, a pretty young woman from one of the lower houses. But to that report Triel had only shrugged and told Jarlaxle that she had no interest whatsoever in the love live of her brother, as long as he was descret enough about it.
As he reached the clawrift Dinin passed a small cave carved out by the water springing from a small well. This place was usually used by the soldiers of Bregan D'aerthe to change their disguises and a quick glance around revealed that there was nobody around to witness his disappearance into the cave. Still Dinin decided against ridding himself of the disguise. His task had been boring enough today, he decided. He might just have a little fun jet if he went on as he was.

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