No Temptation Has Overtaken You New
THE LAST STOP
This particular brothel didn't have much of a name. Apparently it was just called "the Ten-One-Three". A reference to something Zael didn't get, some Elbionese thing or Marte Cartel inside knowledge; that paranoid prostitute hadn't really been in any mood to explain. But the name wasn't important. It was who was inside that mattered. Vale was the star of the show, the big reason why Zael was in Elbion in the first place. Sure, there were a few other things, a couple of which were done, one of which that wasn't, and there was that party night at the tavern with Junius (not really business, but it was fun), but Vale was the prize. Just like Talus had for his Revolution, so Zael reckoned, gathering support was the thing you did all up until it was go-time—you could never have enough, especially against a foe that was nothing less than the entire might of Vel Anir.
The Ten-One-Three was deeper in the Quarterfell than all the other brothels, those all close or fairly close to the conspicuous dividing line between the district and Elbion proper. Zael was glad to have Ruslan at his side. Not that he couldn't handle himself, but walking in a pair rather than alone probably kept the night owls whom they did pass by polite. Being all by one's lonesome might've invited a few inconvenient attempts of thugs and thieves to try their luck.
Through the old streets they went.
Until, in a dark square, one of the buildings which was situated slightly back from the others on one side had etched into the space above its doorframe "1 0 1 3". Outside a burly man leaned against the wall by the door in the glow of the greasy lantern. This was it.
But as soon as Zael and Ruslan came into clean view of the doorman, he snapped an uninviting gaze to them and said, "I don't know you. Go back the way you came."
The doorman scoffed. "I don't care who you think you're coming to see, I don't know you. So get lost. Before I make you lost."
Zael glanced to Ruslan, Ruslan to him. And the two of them did as the doorman said and turned around, going back the way they came.
"A warm welcome," Ruslan commented as they walked. Then asked in a perfunctory way, "So is that it?"
"No," Zael said. "We're just gonna have to make our own way in."