The Jocular Jackanapes were eating their dinner in the community wagon as was their wont. They were laughing and teasing each other after their performance. The days work done and their intel report already submitted they were in a good mood when the lazy voice of Tak-Tak, their handler, came from out of thin air. “I’m glad to find you lot in good spirits and ready for your next job.” They looked around and there he was, where nothing had been before, where it wasn’t possible that anything had been before as they would have bumped into it moving around the table, the wagon wasn’t that large by the gods! Still, they didn’t bother acting surprised, he did this sometimes, show up out of thin air, usually it signaled a more important job, or a change in squad members, he never put someone new into the group except in person, never couriered in as some handlers did, or so they’d heard. They just sat quietly and continued eating, waiting for their next assignment. He didn’t make them wait long.
“The duke of Farnham has a dau. that’s coming out in a month and the duke is looking for entertainment for the ball. I’ve been able to secure an invitation for your act to perform at a private audition for the household. You’ll be up against several other acts so make sure you bring your A game.” “The duke is known to entertain the Grand Duke for hunting as Farnham has some excellent hunting grounds so it’s possible that he will attend the ball. Either way, whether or not he attends I want you to plant several bugs in the household so that we can gather intel. We know that the duke is rather secretive and has taken the precaution of having several areas warded against scrying, but, that still leaves plenty of opportunities as I’ve never seen one of those types yet ward the places where gossip really happens” “Here are your bugs.” He tosses five gem-like stones, one for each of the group. “They activate on the code word Farthingale. They’ll transform into the first word out of your mouth after that and then start transmitting. Make sure that you don’t name anything bigger than your hand and be very specific.” He winks at you and smiles. He smiles easily, his teeth sharp in his brutish face, his half-orc ancestry is never more obvious than when he smiles, but those that assumed him unintelligent for that face and that ancestry underestimated him, a very fatal mistake for his mind was even sharper than his blade.