They continued walking through the shanty town. Gossip spread like ripples through a see of people here, and here and there Soubrette picked up echoes of her own rumour. Once she'd gotten far enough away from the entry point, she started phase two:
"Hey hey!" she shouted for attention in a crowded junction of what passed for streets in the shanty town. A large, odd number of eyes regarded her with suspicion. "You guys should know this, okay: whatever people have been saying, Snyde isn't dead. That's just a lie." She gave it a second to sink it. "And he definitely wasn't," she added with perfect timing, "Lured to a business meeting and shot in the head by Lucky Lepowitz. There is no gang after him at all. There definitely aren't twenty-four of them, heavily armed and led by this blond sailor guy because even the pirates are disgusted with him. So, you know, if you hear those rumours, that they aren't true."
Soubrette smiled in satisfaction at a job well done. A rumour could easily be falsified. A dodgy-sounding 'official denial' would stick like mud.
This particlar ripple - more like a small wave - was passed around as usual. If Soubrette was any judge, her original inflated figure would end up more and more inflated until Snyde apparently had an entire army and every pirate on the seven seas after his skin.
Another ripple, coming in the opposite direction, reached her ears.
"Who are those guys?" someone said as the sellswords approached.
"I dunno," came the reply, "but did you see those fellas down by the river?"
"No, but I heard. Sounds like trouble."
Without missing a beat, the company changed direction in unison, heading for the river. They didn't have to go far to spot them, standing on the opposite bank - large, armoured figures conversing with smaller shadows out of a boat.
"Who are they?" Blunt whispered, trying to be inconspicuous.
"I don't know," said Luki, "but they're on Snyde's turf. They're either the guys Snyde felt the need to protect his territory from..."
"Or they're Snyde's guys," Zaryel finished off. "You think he'd have hired his own help?"
"If Sir Karsimir only cleaned him out in terms of people and not cash, no reason why not," Quinn provided.
The five of them looked across the river again.
"So, how do we find out?" said Zaryel.
A few more minutes of whispering, and a plan emerged. Luki would make herself visible. Whichever side they were on, they would likely as not try to engage her services, in which case she could, without being at all suspicious, ask them who they worked for.
The other possibility was that they would attack, which is why she would be armed and the others would conceal themselves in the ruins as close as possible in case anything happened.