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The Snow has Vanished….

The boy gently opened the door, stepped through and carefully closed it behind hin, as all young lads do, the noise thundering through the Gangplank. He had come to see Miss Junie, the price of vole cheese having to go up, due to the disturbances in the sewers. Instead he found Mr Arnold resting in the rafters with Leon and Miss Momoe at the bar below. Giving his message to the Gangplank regulars to pass on, the talk moved to the continued absence of Snow.

It had now been almost two weeks since there had been any sighting of the boy. and considering the finds Leon had made in the cellars under Clockhaven, they thought it was about time to find him before there was any trouble. Tepic was very clear it was not safe to conduct a search in the sewers, and the others got the impression he was unhappy some urchins had ignored the “whisper” and the clear urchin sign on all the sewer entrances, only being mollified by them being new and not knowing the sign!

Around then, Lilith arrived, settling down on the pile of blankets by the fire. After listening to the discussion for several minutes, she piped up that she had seen a large drain cover out of place earlier that day, and maybe Snow had come out into the streets of the City. This brought a certain unease to the company, if what they suspected regarding Snow was true, then he, and others, could be in real danger. They asked Lilith to show them where the cover was, hoping it would let them track their errant friend, and the group followed the girl into the street and along the Port waterfront, leaving Leon behind to guard the bar (which he did exceedingly well, checking each open barrel for contamination…).

She showed them to the main junction cover at the meeting of Front Street and Symington Quay, where Cuffs used to be, and although the cover was now back in place, they could all see the marks on the cobbles where something large had clawed it’s way out. Considering the weight of the cover, and the lack of any ladder or platform beneath, whatever or whoever it was must have been very strong, a worrying fact. Mr Arnold scouted round to see if he could pick up any scent, while the others pondered how they could find a friend who might not be that friendly when found!

Tepic had a vial of distilled wolfsbane in his jacket, a precaution from their previous encounters with  Tenderpaws, and he was about to show it to them when Mr Arnold came back to report not being able to find a scent due to the aroma from the sewers. It was then that an idea struck – how about following the strongest scent from the sewers? After all, if he had come up, he would be trailing that behind him! They were about to head off, when they remembered their dilemma. The fox boy showed them the vial, opening it to display it’s strength – if it looked like Snow was going to be unfriendly, they could splash it on themselves to keep him away.

With that they were off again, the strongest scent heading down Abney Park Way. Halfway along, they encountered Jimmy, who was admiring a fine reproduction of an elephant, complete with howdah, outside the Wax Museum. It was wonderful, and the others had a job to tear Tepic away, him being particularly fond of the creatures. The trail lead them past the City Hall and down to Canal Street, where Mr Arnold lost the scent, masked as it was by the effluent in the canal. Though disappointed, they were happy to know they had a lead, however tenuous, from here they would have to set up a watch, and just wait, hoping nothing disastrous would happen in the meantime.

Mr Arnold took Tepic aside, and mentioned that it was probably not a good idea to send out a general word to the urchins to be on the look out, as it seemed some were having difficulty in keeping secrets, and the closer news of Snow was kept, the safer it would be for him. He also mentioned that several had been overheard in the Gangplank talking about the Sneaky Vole! This shocked the lad, the Builders had already demolished the bar once, and although they would have more difficulty where it was now, he was certain they would do their utmost if they discovered it’s location.

Thinking carefully, Tepic realised keeping a watch for Snow was a job for those of proven reliability, urchins picked for their skills and ability to keep stum, in other words, the Under Thirteen Club! Sending his friends back to the Gangplank, Tepic sped off to spread the word….

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