A/n: Geralt, Dandelion and the world of The Witcher belong to Mr. Sapkowski. Only the extras and situation are mine.
I welcome any and all reviews. Criticism makes us better writers.
Who? What? Where?
"What exactly is Beggartick blossom?" Captain Vothral asked as they moved down the hall. His voice was higher pitched than most men, almost feminine, and it echoed annoyingly as they heading back to the common room.
"It's a flower, Captain," Geralt replied. "It is used by alchemists to make certain potions."
"What does it do?"
"Usually," he answered as he pushed open the door at the end of the hall, "it causes unconsciousness."
The light from the common room was almost blinding after the dimness of the hall. The customers had thinned a little since they had left it, but there were still some tables with one, two or three seated at them.
Geralt walked toward the bar, where the innkeeper was standing while watching his patrons. Gordo didn't seem particularly interested in any one customer, he watched all equally. Some might find it odd to open the inn after the morning's discovery, but not Geralt. He had seen enough to know money and greed drove men more than their emotions.
"I have some questions, Innkeeper," Geralt told him as he neared.
"So your friend," said Vothral while following behind the witcher, "drugged poor Elsa before slaying her?" he was shaking his head sadly as they stopped next to Gordo. "This is not helping your friend in my eyes, Witcher."
Gordo's red rimmed and swollen eyes, jumped between the witcher and captain. The look of genuine surprise on his face could not have been faked. His mouth opened and closed a couple times before he could spit out, "He drugged her?" The innkeeper threw his head back and wailed, "Oh, the fiendishness of it all!"
A few nearby patrons, looked over at Gordo's outburst, but lowered their heads and went back to their business when they spotted Geralt.
Geralt stood by, his arms crossed, while waiting patiently for the Innkeeper to finish his latest spurt of tears, cries and nose blows. This was all quite amusing to Geralt, though he didn't show it. He knew the overweight innkeeper was putting on a show for everyone. Too bad he was putting it on a bit too thick. 'Perhaps Dandelion could give him some pointers,' he thought. Even the captain rolled his eyes at the innkeeper's display.
When Gordo finally quieted down, the witcher began his inquiry.
"Tell me from the beginning," Geralt directed, "what you remember of last night."
Gordo looked to the captain as if to ask advice. Vothral nodded once and motioned him to speak.
"It was just a normal evening," Gordo began. "The usual amount of customers with nothing really out of the ordinary, except for you, sir," he tilted his head to Geralt. "We don't have witchers here usually."
"Of course you don't," Geralt agreed. "Please continue."
The innkeeper swallowed and tried not to look nervous but failed miserably. "Yes, nothing out of the ordinary really," he went on. "Later, I saw you head upstairs with Katrina. That's when your friend started hanging around Elsa. He was very drunk, staggering around following her. He kept reciting poetry and remarking about her beauty." Tears welled up again in Gordo's eyes. "She was very beautiful, you know."
"Well," he continued as he used his apron again, "Elsa seemed quite taken with him, giggling at his poems and compliments. I had to keep on her about ignoring the customers, they were getting irritable. He even promised to write a song about her." He smiled, "Elsa would have liked that."
"So then what happened," Vothral prodded.
"After a bit, he came up to me and asked me to let her have the rest of the night off. I told him I couldn't afford that because there were only the three girls working. So he offered to pay me to let her go." Gordo looked shocked when remembering that.
"So what did you tell him?" the captain asked, obviously not believing Dandelion's audacity.
"I accepted twenty gold for her night off." The innkeeper shrugged, "It's more than I pay her in a week."
The captain sighed and shook his head. "So then what?" he asked.
"I don't really know," the innkeeper admitted. "It was late and I was tired after a long day, so I left the customers to my girls and went to bed."
"Which were the other two girls?" Geralt asked.
"Jenna there," he pointed to a red haired girl cleaning a table in the far corner, " and Myra, over there," again he pointed. This time it was to a taller, dark haired girl holding a broom by the entry.
Apparently, Myra had forgotten what brooms were for because she was just standing there looking lost.
"Myra!" Gordo bellowed and she jumped. "The floor will not sweep itself, you know! Get to it, girl!" She started sweeping hurriedly.
"Well," Vothral said satisfied, "There you are, Witcher, your friend was definitely in the mood for something. Perhaps he didn't take 'No.' for an answer."
"That is hardly motive for murder, Captain," Geralt pointed out. "Plus it didn't sound to me like Elsa was about to refuse an offer from him." Geralt turned and started walking away. "I am going to ask the barmaids some questions as well."
"Witcher!" Vothral called after him. "This is my investigation."
Geralt ignored him completely and kept walking.
Vothral sighed heavily and followed. He was not about to let this witcher question his witnesses without him being there.
Jenna finished her table and had just turned around when she was startled by Geralt right behind her. "Sir?" she asked, recovering quickly. "Somethin' I can get you? Drink or a meal p'haps?"
"No," Geralt answered. "Nothing, thank you." He placed a gentle hand on her shoulder and turned her back around to the table. "Sit, please," he said. "I just want to ask you about last night."
Jenna half shrugged and sat. Geralt's leathers creaked audibly as he placed himself opposite her. When Vothral caught up, he remained standing on her side of the table.
Her bloodshot, green eyes looked at Geralt with doubt. "Dunno what I can really help with," she said. "Elsa wouldn't 'urt a fly. I don't understan' why someone would kill 'er." She wiped newly formed tears away with her hand.
"Just tell me what you remember from last night," Geralt coaxed. His deep, husky voice seemed to calm Jenna.
She brushed red hair from in front of her face and nodded.
"Were mostly regular customers 'ere. The only ones I r'member t' stan' out was you an' your frien'. Din't see when it was you left, but after, your frien', 'e was likin' Elsa quite a lot. Followin' 'er and sayin' all that pretty stuff. Tellin' 'er how beautiful she was an' all."
"Gordo said he was reciting poetry to her," Vothral told her.
"Aye," Jenna nodded, "'e was." She sniffed loudly and went on, "Well, tha' went on till late, 'im talkin', 'er gigglin'. Not long after Gordo went ta bed, bout an hour or so, they went back ta 'er room." She shrugged vaguely as she finished.
"Is that all you can remember?" Geralt asked.
"Well, I do r'member 'im callin' t' Myra on the way ta 'er room," she added, "for a bottle a wine t' be brung to 'em there."
"And that's all?"
"Aye, sir. I din't see anythin' of either of 'em rest of the night."
"Did you take the wine to them?" Vothral asked.
"No, sir," she replied looking up at him. "I s'pose Myra did but I din't see."
"What about in the morning?" Geralt pressed.
"After Gordo was up," she relayed, "'e wanted 'er back t' work, what with the mornin' customers due in an' all. So 'e went back ta 'er room t' wake 'er. I could 'ere 'im poundin' on 'er door and yellin' for 'er t' get up an' get ta work. Then 'e started screamin' afraid like. Me an' Myra ran back t' see what 'appened an'…," she choked up and tears began to flow down her cheeks, falling to the table.
"That's when you found Elsa," Geralt finished for her.
Jenna nodded, trying to hold back the sobs and wipe her face on her sleeve.
"Okay, Jenna," the captain said, patting her shoulder. "You can go now."
Jenna got up and, walking quickly, took her tray full of dishes to the back.
Geralt stood and walked directly over to Myra who was now sweeping dirt out the door. She was a plain looking girl but taller than Jenna, the top of her head almost to the witcher's chin. Her big dark eyes widened considerably as he approached. Once he reached her, Geralt opened his mouth to ask the girl what she knew.
Before he could get a word out, her face screwed up, she let out a wail and ran from the inn sobbing uncontrollably.
"I'm thinking she believes you killed her friend, Witcher," Vothral chuckled from behind Geralt.
Geralt crossed his arms in thought as he stared after the girl running down the street crying. He would have to talk with her, but not now.
"What did you do to her, Witcher?!" Gordo hollered from the bar. "What am I to do now? I have only one girl here!"
"I suggest," Geralt answered coolly, "you had better get to waiting tables before your customers begin to get 'irritable'."
As the innkeeper huffed about being made to do such menial tasks, Geralt looked at Captain Vothral. "Where was Dandelion when you got here?" he asked.
"The bastard was still sleeping off his drunk next to her," Vothral spat out.
Geralt stood thinking for only a moment before he said, "I want to speak to Dandelion now."
Vothral frowned at Geralt's demand. "I won't allow any funny stuff, witcher," he warned. "If you even attempt to bust him out, I'll have the entire town garrison after you in a matter of moments."
Geralt smiled. "I wouldn't even dream of it, Captain."
Vothral stared at Geralt for a second, trying to keep his eyes off the witcher's swords. "Very well," he said but did not sound convinced. "Gordo!" he called, looking back to the bar. "I expect to see you in my office later today!"
"But, but, but," the innkeeper sputtered. Vothral didn't wait to hear any more, he turned to walk out the door and spotted Geralt several yards ahead of him walking towards the center of town, his white hair swaying back and forth with his gait. That walk said 'I own the world and no one can tell me different.'
"I hate witchers," Vothral muttered under his breath as he ran to catch up.
Dandelion leaned his head against the bars of his cell, letting the cool metal soothe his aching head. The dried blood was starting to itch and he wished he could bathe. He was unsure what exactly had happened but somehow he had been accused of killing the pretty little blonde he had been with last night. He could only assume the blood all over the front of him was hers. He didn't seem to have any wounds on him, not counting his pride. Killing was not in his nature. He was a minstrel not an assassin or even a soldier! To be accused of killing a beautiful young blonde? They had not even let him get dressed properly before hauling him off to jail! Outrageous! He imagined all the women he would have to console once he was released. 'No, my Dear, I was not hurt.' 'No, Sweetheart, I was never at any time afraid for my life.' He prayed Geralt was looking into this.
The door at the top of the stairs opened and his savior appeared.
"Geralt," Dandelion smiled. "Thank the Gods. Have you come to get me out?"
"Not yet," he replied, strolling down the stairs to come to a stop at the bars in front of Dandelion.
"Five minutes, Witcher," Vothral called from upstairs. The slamming door echoed loudly about the bare cells.
"What?" Dandelion looked distraught. His voice had that childish whine that could be irritating if let go on too long. "Why not? You know I didn't do anything wrong."
"Relax, my friend," Geralt soothed. "I'll get to the bottom of this and get you out of here as soon as I can. First, I must know what you remember about last night."
"I can't remember a damned thing about last night!" Dandelion practically shrieked. He grasped his head with both hands in obvious pain. "Ugh," he groaned. "Now get me out of here," he whispered this time.
"Dandelion," Geralt said evenly, "I can't help you if you won't help me."
Dandelion let go of his head and pressed his forehead to the bars again, his eyes still closed. "Okay," he sighed. "What do you want to know?"
Geralt repeated slowly, "What do you remember about last night?"
"I remember meeting you for drinks," he started. "I remember getting very drunk. You went upstairs with that pretty brunette and I went after the blonde I had my eye on all night." Dandelion opened his eyes and looked at Geralt. "What happened to her?"
"I'll tell you when you finish," Geralt replied. He looked directly into Dandelion's eyes noting a glassy sheen in them. More than what would be caused by alcohol. "What else do you remember?"
Dandelion sighed and scratched at his chest absently. "I was walking with her around the inn, reciting poems and complimenting her. You know, all the things women love. I think I even offered to write her a song," he grinned. Women found that grin irresistible, but now it looked almost evil with his tousled appearance and all the blood on his front.
"Yes you did."
The minstrel chuckled, "I would have too. She was very fetching."
"I know she was," Geralt agreed. "Please, Dandelion, what else?"
"Well," he continued, "I asked her to spend the night with me and she said she couldn't because she had to work. I told her I would take care of that and I went and paid the innkeeper her wages for the night."
Geralt smiled slightly at that.
"What's with the grin?"
"Nothing, please go on."
"We spent some time at a table then went back to her room," Dandelion said eyeing Geralt for more reactions. "I ordered a bottle of their finest on the way past the bar too. When we got to her room," he paused, raising his eyebrows. "Do you really want details?"
Geralt rolled his eyes. "That part isn't necessary. Do you remember getting your wine?"
"Yeah," he replied. "I poured us each a glass and," he stopped. His brow furrowed and he rubbed his temples as he concentrated for a second. "I guess that wine was the topper. I can't remember a thing after that. Except being woken by soldiers and drug outside to be manhandled onto a horse and brought here." The bruised pride was very evident in his tone.
"Can you remember who it was that brought you the wine?"
Dandelion thought for a minute. "Yes," he said finally. "It was the dark haired barmaid. The plain looking one."
"All right, Dandelion," Geralt said as he turned. "Wait here and I'll be back." He started up the stairs.
"Wait, Geralt!" Dandelion pleaded to Geralt's back. "You said you would tell me what happened to her."
The witcher stopped halfway up the steps. "She was stabbed several times," he said quietly, "and the dagger used, was left in her chest." Turning to face his friend, he told him, "You were found in the morning by the innkeeper." He paused then added, "Sleeping next to her."
Dandelion's mouth fell open and he stepped back to trip on the pile of straw meant to be his bed during his stay. He sat down hard, his mouth still open, staring at Geralt.
Geralt turned around and resumed his climb.