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III. Hrothgar Tells All

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#1 Guest_Fantysm_*

Posted 03 January 2005 - 04:09 AM

The party was up bright and early. A passing reference in a conversation with the twins told of an ‘insane fisherman who’s going to get an oar in the teeth soon.’ Elijah immediately wanted to find and help the man. Catti stayed well away from Borg, who was not a morning person, and thus was in a bad mood. It didn’t help that Catti wasn’t a morning person either. The twins were playing an oral word game, which made no sense to the rest of the group, and were mostly unaware of their surroundings.

“Ale,” Maggie said.

“Brandy,” Killian replied.


“GROG!” Borg crowed, and was rewarded with a glare from the halflings. He was relieving morning tension by swinging his axe into random buildings and snowdrifts. Each time the weapon came in contact with an object, Elijah would wince and make an almost inaudible moaning sound. Jaruah could hear these with her superior elven hearing, and they seemed to greatly amuse her.

They decided to see what Hrothgar wanted them for, and after being directed to ‘the house with the horrendous eaves,’ they stepped inside.

Jaruah was to be the spokesperson for the party this time, and confidence was evident in her walk. “Hail, Hrothgar. We’ve met already, in the tavern yesterday. What do you propose? My party has heard talk of an expedition through Kuldahar Pass . . .”

As Jaruah and Hrothgar talked in depth about what the expedition would entail, Elijah caught a flash of dark crimson cloth and sighed, putting his head in his hands. Magdelena was at it again. He could only see the back of her small, dark-haired form as she picked the lock of a chest in the next room. The plait half-way down her back was haphazard at best, and the curly strands coming loose so early in the day pointed their accusing split ends at Killian. With a quick wink of a nut-brown eye, Maggie took up a post behind the party, closest to the door, while tucking a scrap of paper into her little blue bag.

Killian was fiddling with the arrows in his quiver, and asked Catti to do something to them. The half-elf refused scathingly and ignored his continued protests. Borg was staring at Magdelena unblinkingly, for some reason.

Catti was leaning against the wall, arms folded. Her pale skin and flaxen hair stood out in the dark house with only dim firelight licking into the corners of the room. A bitter expression occupied her face, and her sapphire blue eyes were darkened with thoughts of something far worse than the things to come.

“. . . and after you’ve gathered everyone else, we’ll be back,” Jaruah was saying. Her smile was very fixed by now. “Was there anything else?”

“There is,” Hrothgar said slowly, “but — no, no, you probably wouldn’t want —”

“OY!” Borg shouted suddenly. “If there be treasure or axes involved, I be wantin’ it!”

Hrothgar looked taken-aback by the dwarf’s outburst. “Is he insane?”

“Sometimes I wonder,” Jaruah muttered under her breath, then shook her head for Hrothgar’s benefit.

“There’s a caravan due from Caer-Dinival,” the warrior-priest continued. “Pomab has been complaining about his depleting stock. Usually, I take Pomab’s whining with a grain of salt, but that caravan should be here by now. I have suspicions that they were waylaid just outside of town. If you’d care to find the caravan and escort it safely back to Easthaven, that would be wonderful.”

“We will do this for you,” Elijah confirmed, and the party was back in the snow again.

“I found a piece of paper!” Maggie exclaimed immediately. “I don’t know if it’s a spell or not, though . . . I haven’t read it yet.”

She brought out the scrap of parchment and scanned it. The rogue stared at it for ages before Killian sighed, tugged it out of her hand, and read it aloud:

If you are reading this note, then obviously you are a thief come
to rob me of my hard-won riches. Sorry to disappoint you. Did
you really think I would keep my valuables in such an obvious
and unguarded place? Consider this note a warning. I do not
care much for those who would poke their nose where it doesn’t
belong, and anyone caught practicing thievery in the town of
Easthaven shall answer to me.


“Now that is a good reason not to steal things, Maggie,” Killian and Elijah said at the same time. Maggie grinned.

“I will do whatever I like, Kill, Eli, and if stuffy ol’ Hrothgar wants to stop me, he’ll have to catch me first!” She skipped away, and the others followed.

The rest of the day was spent finding ancestral blades for ordinary fishermen, tracking down runaway pets and toys, hearing stuffy old priests telling the same boring story repeatedly, and listening to Borg singing ‘All for Me Grog’ over and over again.

“I need another drink,” Jaruah muttered as they handed the girl Alhandra her lost dolly. She squealed in delight and gave them a gold coin for their troubles. “At least it might get that blasted song out of my head!”

“Let’s get back to the inn,” Elijah suggested, and they headed across the town.

“Wait,” Maggie called. She was staring at a house jutting out over Lac Dinneshere. The door was wide open.

“What’s wrong, Magpie?” Killian asked, doubling back.

“The door,” she said. “It’s open. People in Icewind Dale just don’t leave their doors open like that.”

“Then go shut it! Come on, Maggie.”

Instead of closing the door, Maggie went inside. Borg ran after her as the others stared uncertainly. Elijah sighed for the hundredth time that day as the rest followed.

Inside was a very drunk man sitting on the floor in the middle of the room. He was clutching an empty wine bottle.

“Whew!” Jaruah said, fanning her nose. “Been hitting the sauce lately, human?” The man glared up at her with bloodshot eyes.

“No, ye see, I need me medicine to fish. I need it.”

“Oh really?” Killian said sarcastically. “What’s your name? Anything we can do to aid your downward spiral into oblivion?”

“All them out there,” he gestured to the door, “call me Ol’ Jed.” He scratched his balding head. “Ye could gimme s’more medicine.”

Everyone turned to look expectantly at Borg, who had been inspecting his own bottle of booze. “Nay, this be my booze! MINE!” The dwarf bellowed.

They spent a good deal of time trying to convince Borg to give up the wine, but in the end, Magdelena sneaked up behind him, tickled his ribs, and snatched the bottle out of his hands.

“Aye, that be a good way of gettin’ booze, girl!” Old Jed cried in delight. “Here’s a bit o’ gold for yer troubles . . . and all of ye are initiated into the Eternal Brotherhood of Fishermen!” At the look on Maggie’s face, he added, “and the Eternal Sisterhood of Fisherwomen!”

Jaruah rolled her eyes and scowled as they left Old Jed’s place. “What a loon.”

Borg was in a bad mood, alternately grumbling about how the idiot had stolen his precious alcohol and swinging his axe into snowdrifts. Well, at least he isn’t singing anymore, Catti thought.

At the inn, Catti sat down at the desk to copy two new spells (‘Burning Hands’ and ‘Horror’) into her spellbook. They were the scrolls Maggie had filched from Pomab.

Borg flopped down on the top bunk and began snoring. Catti was almost sure the dwarf snored on purpose, just to aggravate her. How in the Nine Hells am I supposed to work with him in here? He might as well be awake and swinging that blasted axe into the walls! Or worse, Catti cringed at the thought, he could be singing!

The spellcaster sighed, picked up her writing materials, and relocated to the common room of the inn. Ah . . . silence.

Jaruah had a quick drink at the Winter’s Cradle before heading back to the inn, leaving poor Elijah to deal with two very drunk halflings.

“Alright, you two. It’s time to go back to the inn,” Elijah said sternly.

“But we’ve on’y ‘ad ten drinks,” Magdelena protested. “Or wazh it firteen? Unngh.”

“Yessh,” Killian slurred, diving over the table and lunging for the ale mug in the center. “More drinksh!”

Elijah quickly swiped the mug out of Killian's reach. “Absolutely not. You are both going to wake up with splitting headaches, and then you’ll have to deal with Borg singing tomorrow. That’s not going to be fun, is it?” Elijah lectured. He grabbed each halfling by the ear, half-supporting, half-dragging them out. Much applause followed them when the trio was out of earshot.

“Unngh,” the twins groaned.

“That’s what I thought.” They reached the inn, and the hobbits were dumped onto their bed, where they passed out minutes later. Borg was still snoring heavily on the top bunk as Elijah rolled out his own sleeping bag and attempted to get to sleep.

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