Palamedes Woodash made his way through the crowd, moving with the expertise that a life spent in the Castle Terribel kitchens could grant a person in that sort of thing. He looked around desperately for a black cloak. Serjeant Greedigutt needed to hear this, and as Palamedes had no idea where he was, he would need to find someone with a better handle of things.
Which would be about anyone. Palamedes did not suffer from any illusions about his level of competence or his place in the Guard. He’d always been an awkward young man, and had simply moved from being the awkward young member of the Kitchen Staff to being the awkward young member of the Guard. It may not have been the finest career move--but the clothing was much better. There was no denying that. He saw a large black cloak in a corner. Hagen. Well--he would do. Even if the Ogre often left Palamedes with a sensation that he was being laughed at. Albeit in a quiet, vaguely foreign manner that the Ogres of the Mountains of Sorrow were experts at.
Palamedes took a deep breath and tapped the black cloak. “Hagen?” The Ogre turned revealing an attractive female Erl nestled in his arms.
“Ahh! Palamedes!” Hagen gestured to the woman. “This is Meg!”
Meg smiled at him. “It’s short for ‘Megarea‘.” Palamedes nodded dully, realizing that this woman was one of Armida’s hostesses. “Oooh! Palamedes! I’ve heard so much about you!” she declared brightly. She shot a fond gaze at the Ogre. “Hagen always tells me the funniest stories involving you!”
Palamedes shifted awkwardly on his feet. “Ahh. Yes. Very nice.”
Meg looked at her paramour. “I have to say--he’s much cuter than you make him sound.”
Hagen gave a good-natured chuckle. “Don’t want your eyes wandering, nightingale.” He hung an affectionate arm over the hostess.
“Yes, Hagen--it’s--do you know where the Serjeant is?” said Palamedes, shutting his eyes.
“Around somewhere,” said Hagen with a dismissive wave of his hand. “What do you have to tell him?”
Palamedes coughed. “Right. Remember that cheese that--went missing?” Hagen nodded, a slight chuckle escaping his lips, while Meg politely covered her mouth. Palamedes decided to go on. “Well, more food’s vanished. A tray of biscuits during the salad course, two servings of Beef Azzur--and just under a dozen bottles of water.”
Hagen nodded. “So--people are thirsty, eh?”
Palamedes frowned, regarding the Ogre with narrowing eyes. “You’re not a Castle man, Hagen. You don’t know how things operate here. There’s always a little lifting going on in the Kitchens, yes. But trays? Servings? Whole bottles of water?” Palamedes was startled to hear himself standing up to Hagen--and yet here he was, doing just that. “But it’s that last one that’s important. As you said--people are thirsty.”
To Palamedes immense surprise, Hagen seemed more interested then offended. “Go on,” the Ogre said.
“Ever been Down Below, Hagen?” asked Palamedes. “It’s hot down there. In some spots, you can pass out from the heat, if you don’t get enough to drink.” He nodded. “That’s where our southerner is. He may be moving to and fro--but he is down there SOMEWHERE.”
Hagen nodded excitedly. “Oh, very good, Woodash! Never knew you had it in you!” He leaned forward. “So--let’s go look, eh?”
Palamedes coughed. “Ahh. Yes. That’s--another thing. Down Below is--kind of big. As in--you can get lost in there. As in we send people down below with ball of yarn, and have them unwind it so they don’t lose the path.” He looked away. “So--really, I’ve narrowed things down--just a tad.”
Hagen gave a furious nod. “Still better than they were.”
“That’s right!” said Meg, cheerily. “You deserve a reward for being so smart!” She leaned forward, and planted a kiss on Palamedes’ cheek.