The morning still messed with her head. Every time she woke up, she expected to be back on that old, familiar grind. She'd stroll into The Kennel, hungover, looking rough but ready to do her employers' bidding. Dana's make a harsh quip about her appearance but inevitably give her a contract after a few bits of banter. That was all before her decision to protect Merces had led her to lose the only gig she felt she was good at. "Losing" it was probably putting it lightly. She didn't just get fired. By Dana and Gibney's personal decree, she was effectively shunned in Almund as far as the mercenary world was concerned. They'd promised her she'd never work in the town again and thus far they'd been right. The Merchant's Guild had done its duty piling the burden with higher fees, too. None of that compared to the abyss-like feeling of just...drifting again.
Idleness didn't suit her well, and so she'd taken to another day of wandering the streets in desperate hope of a break. This time she'd actually stumbled upon what appeared to be a promising scene. A man bundled up in a tattered coat and worn pants had garnered a small crowd in Almund's street. "I'm callin' bullshit tha' they can't find 'im!" his voice raised with a plume of white vapor in the cold air. "Someone stabbed me father! Righ' 'ere like a dog in the street!" Max moved closer as the other four listeners murmured their agreement.
"The old guy live?" she asked, nudging a listener beside her.
"Aye," the woman confirmed with a tired sigh. "Shady healers did good work on 'im. Poor old man. Swears he was just drinkin' at The Buckle and Chain when someone followed 'im outside."
The disgruntled son suddenly held a knife up for his listeners to view with their wide, surprised eyes. It wasn't an uncommon weapon by any means, just a butcher's knife with a red-stained, wooden handle. "I want me justice for me self!" the son continued his tirade while he still had an audience. "There'll be reward for whoever brings me the knave! Take it!" Max's brow shot up at that. The woman she'd spoken to moments ago reached up and took the knife from the son's grasp. The Rusalka curiously leaned over with her to get a better look at it.
"Ah, shite," the woman griped and immediately handed the knife over to Maxine. Her long fingernail tapped at the odd little branding on the wooden handle. "See that mark? Belongs to the butcher's shop around the corner from The Buckle and Chain. I buy there all the time. Can't be no fool, takin' a shite where I eat." She departed with a shake of her head, effectively leaving the Rusalka with the evidence.
She was technically no mercenary now. She was just another bottom-feeder, battling for scraps from whatever odd job she could find. Being marked by The Kennel made such an endeavor fleeting indeed. Yet she had to eat. It was worth a shot if nothing else. First she'd start at the butcher's shop to investigate the origins of the supposed weapon used in the assault. If that failed, she'd mosey back to The Buckle and Chain Tavern and hope that someone would give her the time of day. The best scenario she could hope for was one where an employee of the butcher's shop simply fessed up. It was a beautiful fantasy.
"Hello," Maxine voiced aloud lazily as she entered the doors of the butcher's shop. Her boots clicked as she paced to the counter, her eyes scanning the faces of each employee as she moved. "I'm hoping you can help me. See, just the funniest thing happened last night. Some guy got stabbed and," the Rusalka ceremoniously dropped the knife onto the counter with dramatic flourish, "the weapon looks an awful lot like one of yours." She let her right hand lingers down toward her hip, not clutching the hilt of her sword, but ensuring she was ready to free it of its sheath prison on the off-chance things turned sour in light of her accusation. With her other hand she gestured toward the knives in a nearby block, each bearing the same symbol as their stray brother. "Why don't you tell me how it got there?"