Clarion the Guardian clattered down the five wooden steps into the main bar
of the Fiend's Salute tavern and boarding house, and strode over to the bar. The
slim aasimar looked noticeably bothered, and his long blond hair stuck out from
his head like a dandelion clock. His long cream overcoat was splashed with mud up
to the waist, and his new leather boots were caked with dirt. Leaning across the
counter, he caught the attention of the morning barman, Maurizio. A stout human
wearing a rather shabby apron, Maurizio set down the tankard he was cleaning and
turned to the new arrival.
"Mo, can you do me a favour?" Clarion asked intently. "If Captain Tarmaneser
comes in here looking for me, tell him I'm going to the Armoury. I've got a lead on the Sensorium shooting case."
"Sure thing, Clarion. By the way, Fenris was in earlier. He reckoned he'd got
something for you on that case too. He's gone to the Bazaar to check something with Lissandra."
"Thanks, Mo. I'll see if I can catch up with him there."
Clarion scanned the room briefly for other contacts, and then hurried back up the
steps to street level. Outside, the road was heaving with people and creatures of
all kinds. He had to step around a furious argument between two bariaurs just to
get away from the tavern front. As he pressed onward toward the Bazaar, he
reflected how the cliché was often true, that adventures began in taverns.
Not that this one had; it had begun for Clarion during a debate at the Hall of
Speakers. He had finished delivering a speech on deportation, and had immediately
been hauled out by Lockjaw Franz to attend a scene-of-crime at the Festhall. One
of the Guardians' agents, Carmela, had been found dead in one of the Sensoria, where
visitors could go to experience the recorded memories that were the Festhall's
speciality. It was clear immediately that she had been killed by an imported weapon
- a gun. Firearms did not last long in the strongly magical atmosphere of Sigil, and
yet Clarion had never seen a bullet-wound with as little burning around it as this
one. The bullet showed no signs of magical alteration, though, and the Harmonium
forensic mage had declared the area free of unusual residues. The Guardians
aimed to look after everyone, it was said, but in Sigil they had gained a particular
reputation for looking after their own. Clarion had been determined from the
beginning to find out who had killed Carmela. He wasn't sure what he would do after
that. It would depend on the answer he got - which would depend what he found at the
As he entered the huge open plaza which held the bulk of the Bazaar, Clarion
noted with amusement
two newcomers to the city - primes, probably - paying good money to a faction
tout to be shown what they could see for nothing. At present they we gazing
dizzily upward at the streets curving back overhead to meet on the far side of the
ring, several miles away. Some less scrupulous touts would have tipped off
pickpockets that this was a good opportunity to relieve the visitors of their small
change. This one seemed content to be given the change directly. One of the things
which made Clarion's occupation seem so clandestine was the frequent need to deal
with people for whom the entire city, and in fact the whole of planar culture,
society and politics, was a revelation. Clarion felt he could hardly be more open
about his work without putting a brass plaque outside the Salute saying 'Clarion -
Celestial Spymaster' and publishing his notebooks in Sigils
Aftontidning. Despite his current fame, he still spent much of his time
explaining, as the touts here in the Bazaar did, why things didn't fall across the
city, and why it was so busy if there were no roads into town. Part of the answer to
the second question could be had from a handsome human woman with near-white hair,
carrying a leather-bound book on a strap around her neck. Clarion hurried over to
"Afternoon, Lissandra. How's business?" he asked politely, concealing his anxiety for information briefly.
"Fine, thanks. What's happened to you, though? You look like you've been wading in a ooze portal."
"Nearly. I spent this morning in the alleys behind the Festhall, sorting through trash. There must have been a localised shower there overnight - it was almost awash."
"Find anything good?"
"I found what I was looking for. Not sure if it's good, though. Have you seen Fenris today?"
"Yes - he was here just before Peak, asking about portals to tech-worlds."
"And what did you tell him?"
"Well, the most recent ones were a couple over by the Foundry. One's been sealed off by the Hardheads, but they don't know about the other one yet. Got any for me?"
"Yes - last night, I saw one that's going to see a lot of use. It's behind Madam Laura's, and unless I'm mistaken, it's a two-way link to Merançon on
Haute-Terre - and the key is a sword-fight."
"I can see that being busy, yes," Lissandra smiled, as she copied the details down in pencil into the book she carried. "The unguarded portal I mentioned to Fenris is in Coppersmith Street, two doors left from Screwloose's Nuts and Bolts. I'm not sure what the key is yet - the cutter who saw it working just said that a portal opened and someone threw a glass brick through it. I don't know where it ended up, but the glass brick had buttons on it, he said - sounds like a gizmo to me."
"Me too. Did Fenris say he was going straight there?"
"No - he was going to find you first. I don't suppose he did?"
"Not yet. I'm surprised I didn't see him, because I've just come from the Salute. If you run into him again, let him know I went to the Armoury. I've got a lead on who killed Carmela."
"Will do. Are you paying for all this tout-work, or do I bill your family?"
"Family, I'm afraid. They think this is Important. See you later, Liss."
Planescape setting and Lissandra the Gate-Seeker are copyright Wizards of the Coast, used with tacit permission.