Warwick decided that the sky was the color of fear; The color kicked up by worn leather soles on the chipped cobblestone streets; The color of Bones' writings when ink was watered down. Fear like the insistent dripping of the sewer murk into the part of Warwick's hair so fervently scratched at. Fear like the chest plates of the Armada and their galleons' smooth cannons.
He blinked hard, wincing. It was all too real. The sky was thick that evening, thick so that the fear piled on his shoulders, causing a slouch. His silhouette even looked more confident. He leaned on the wall, opening his palm. From the foul-smelling sewers, he had brought few items to the surface, most just dropped coins. Among them were chipped amulets and the occasional peeled-off wax seal. None of them were Mary Dillon's locket, unfortunately. Warwick glared to the grate in loathing; The next excursion to find it, he decided, would be at sunrise the following morning.
"Sortin' through yer wares, eh, chum?" Topped in a finely-stitched gray cap, Jackie Cohen bounded towards Warwick from his normal spot; a concrete step in the main gutter. He was barefoot, but with enough reason in his frogginess. Warwick stood his ground, as his last merchant encounter hadn't been a good one.
"Don't you worry, lad," Cohen chuckled, "Only here to bargain, unless you're really a coward." Warwick snapped back quickly, his face assuming his usual scowl. He held out his wares and put them into Cohen's flipper.
"Just keep them," he sighed, thrusting his hands into his pockets and walking briskly away. It took a few rounds through city streets before footsteps were heard. A smaller dog – only a pup, Warwick realized – covered in soot and holding a weak lamp approached him, waving a rolled scroll.
"Yes, what is it?" Warwick sighed, praying for a favor other than a stolen purse or scattered journal pages. Weeks of corner-based lurking hadn't done him very well, even when the tiny rewards grew with the sparkle of the found object. The pup turned his feet in, grinding the gray kicked-from-boot ashen fear into the cracks of the street.
"Bones, sir," he said, more to the ground than Warwick, "Bones, 'e wants to see ye, sir." Warwick turned his head up, blue-gray irises dilating in reaction to the cinderblock of shock dangling from his jaw.
"Bones?" Warwick whispered, "Mycroft Bones, the old bloke?" The pup nodded, handing Warwick the scroll. He quickly scanned through it, only paying attention to certain words, all of which were redundant of one another. Good old Bones, Warwick mused, Keeping everything too quiet. The pup – Andrew Renfrow – took a cautious step back, turning a tattered shoulder away and towards the tavern. A gold piece was placed in his gloved paw, and he made the mistake of looking back, for Warwick was smiling.
To be continued
Special thanks to my new friend Jared for (on-the-spot) agreeing to pose as Warwick
for this series of posts.