Rise of the Thrall Lord
Knights of the Couch - Part XIII - Assassin Season - Chapter 6
Chapter 6: Stop Dragon My Heart Around
Aksel, Elvisda and Martin had returned to their tower at the Bright Angel Inn. They had Martin take Wardina to a room to rest. Elvisda had stopped in the common room to order them all a late dinner. The cleric, meanwhile, decided to use the alone time to find out what was going on in Restenford. First he sent a message to the Lady Fairwind. She quickly responded and said that she was on a ship bound for Dunwynn. It seems her brother wanted her there for “safe-keeping”. The Baroness was worried more about her town though than about herself and asked the little cleric to pass on any news to her.
Aksel decided next to contact Shalla. The female bard had a good head on her shoulders and from what he had seen previously, seemed to know quite a bit about what was going on in the town. He composed a message to the bard-ess, then he cast the sending spell and mentally directed his message to her. Within a few minutes he received a response. It seemed that the Ignar had set sail from Restenford headed south with the other two of his three ships. The town, however, was still under martial law and the Dunwynn noble had left a contingent of 50 troops and 7 knights to keep watch over the town. But the most disturbing part of Shalla’s response had gotten cut off. She had started to say “Beware the forces of the Princess are…”, but the spell had ended and the rest of the message was cut off. Worse, Aksel did not have the energy to send a follow up message and would have to wait till tomorrow to find out more about the “Princess”.
He assumed that Shalla was referring to the Princess Anya of Lanfar. He was sure Elvisda had told her about their run in with the maniacal noble. Well, Aksel thought, he probably left a few things out. But if Shalla was mentioning Anya, then that pretty much proved there was some kind of connection between Dunwynn and Lanfar. The Princess had probably continued her journey to Dunwynn after she left them, and made her alliance with the Duke. But if Shalla knew something more about Anya, then the Princess must have stopped in Lanfar. And if she did that, it was most likely to find them!
Hmmm, the wise little cleric continued to ponder. Then perhaps the warrants for their arrest originated from the Princess of Lanfar. For some reason, she wanted them arrested and detained. “For harboring weapons of war” Fairwind had said. “Weapons of War” Aksel thought. What could that be? Surely not the Boulder. It was trashed now anyway. Ves perhaps? But would a dragon be considered a weapon? Maybe he thought. Anyway, it would do no good to beat it to death right now. He needed food and then sleep.
The little cleric left his room and went out into the main room. Elvisda was seated with the young thief Wardina. But the latter had not touched her meal. Martin was off to one side, a plate and a mug in front of him as well. Elvisda, seeing Aksel said, “Welcome friend Aksel. I was just talking to our friend Wardina here. I am trying to convince her that we mean her no harm and that she can eat a meal and then freely go her way.”
Aksel looked at the young thief. Her color had returned and she seemed completely healed. She was doing her best though to ignore the food. But her stomach belied her diffidence as it growled. Wardina winced as her body gave away her hunger. Aksel walked over to her and said, “I am glad to see that you are better.”
Wardina looked carefully at the cleric and then gave him a brief smile. “I understand that I have you to thank for that,” she replied. “Well I was only doing what was right,” Aksel told her. “Some folks in our group have a tendency to get a bit overzealous sometimes,” he said glancing quickly at Elvisda. “But despite that, they all basically mean well,” he finished. “Again, I am just glad we were able to heal you up.”
The young thief continued to eye him and then must have decided she could trust him. She gave him a real smile this time and then said, “I was told that you found our hide out by accident. Is that true?”
Aksel looked the young girl right in eye and said, “Yes, that is correct. I was actually following Gremlik. I had observed him in a rather suspicious meeting with an old adversary of ours. He actually had the look of an assassin about him, and I was able to determine that he is evil.” The girl nodded her head at this. “So,” Aksel continued, “when we discovered there was a guild below the Dry Goods store, we mistakenly assumed it was the Assassin’s Guild. I am truly sorry for any suffering we have caused both you and your friends.” When he was done, Wardina thanked him for his honesty.
Aksel grabbed his dinner and then pulled Elvisda to the side. He told the bard about the news from Restenford as he slowly gnawed on a chicken leg. When he was done, the little gnome took the rest of his dinner back to his room. Elvisda decided to send a message to Glorfindel detailing the latest events in Restenford. The bard cast the whispering wind spell and sent the wizard a brief message.
When he was done, he sat back down across from Wardina. “Trouble?” the young thief said. “Nothing we can’t handle,” the bard replied. “Now, getting back to our conversation, it’s like I told you. We really did not mean you any harm. And as you can see, the food is not poisoned. Aksel just took some, Martin over there is eating it, and I tasted it as well. Would you please eat something?” The young thief eyed the food hungrily and then sighing said, “Oh, what the hell. I might as well.” She picked up a piece of roast chicken and devoured it in no time. Once the girl stared eating, there was no stopping her. Elvisda kept on handing her more and more food until, finally, about half an hour later, she was full. The bard kept quiet the entire time, merely strumming his lute with soothing tunes. Finally, Wardina sat back and seemed content. She looked over at Elvisda, who was still silent. “Oh very well,” she said. “Give me your best pitch”.
“Okay,” Elvisda replied slowly, not wanting to rush things. This was a negotiation like any other, and the bard was quite good at it. But his partner this time actually started off hating him. Now, he had managed to maneuver her into a state of tolerance. It would take some doing, but he wanted to take it one step further and build this into an amicable relationship. He chose his words carefully. “To start off, Martin told you his story, about how he met us, and what it is like to work for us?” The young thief stole a quick glance over at the archer and a brief smile crossed her lips. “Yes,” she replied looking back to the bard, “he did. From everything he told me though, you folks seem crazy…but you do pay well, and he does seem to like working for you.”
Elvisda smiled. Good, he thought, she definitely likes Aksel and Martin too. “So then,” he said outloud, “working for us is not all that bad then?” Wardina considered for a moment then replied, “Maybe, but then again, Martin seems to like you all, and I don’t.” The elf shook his head realizing she was not being completely honest. It was he and Andrella she did not like. And Lloyd probably scared the crap out of her. Aloud he said, “Yes, you don’t have much reason to like us all things considered. Well at least some of us, that is.” He decided to change tactics. “Tell me, how much does the guild compensate you?”
The young thief raised an eyebrow then responded, “10 gold pieces a month. And a room over the Dry Goods store.” Elvisda realized she was probably exaggerating as any good thief would do. “And how much experience do you have?”
“I’m seventeen years old and have been doing this for ten years,” she replied proudly. Seventeen, Elvisda thought, and she’s been stealing since she was seven. His heart suddenly went out to this poor girl who obviously did not have much of a childhood. He sat forward and reached into his pouch. Then he placed a platinum piece on the table. Wardina eyed it longingly. That was one month’s wages to her. But Elvisda did not stop there. He placed a second platinum piece on top of it, then a third, then a forth. The young thief’s eyes were bulging at this point. The bard did not stop however till ten platinum pieces lay on the table between them. It was all Wardina could do to stop herself from jumping forward, grabbing the money and running. “What…do I have to do…for all this?” she said warily, her voice shaking.
“Spy on Dunwynn for us,” Elvisda replied evenly. “Spy on Dunwynn!” she cried pushing back from the table. “Is that all? You might as well ask me to put my head on a chopping block! Dunwynn manor is crawling with knights and guards. It is impossible to get in and out of there.” But she did not take her eyes off the platinum pieces the whole time she vented. He had her hooked the bard realized. He said aloud in a gentle voice, “Come now. I’m not asking you to steal anything from the place. You must know some of the folks that work in the manor. I’m just asking for any information that might be overheard in a hallway conversation, or when serving food or drink in a meeting, or the like.” Wardina mulled it over. She leaned forward again and asked, “Anything specifically you want to know?” The bard smiled broadly and said, “I think we would specifically be interested in troop movements, the comings and goings of high ranking officials, that kind of stuff.”
The young thief nodded her head and asked, “And this is our payment in advance?” Elvisda laughed, “No, no. This is merely a down payment. It is for you to spend as you see fit. Keep some for yourself, give some to your guild, and use some to bribe some Dunwynn servants. When you do find information, bring it to the desk here at the Bright Angel. The folks there will know how to contact me. And I will make sure that you are further compensated for any good information you can provide us.”
Wardina, still eyeing the coins asked, “Further compensation?” The bard smiled and said, “In platinum of course. A platinum piece for regular reports and two pieces for information on either the Duke, Sir Fafnar, or Sir Ignar Strakentir.” The girl stood up, put her hand forward and said, “Done!” Elvisda stood up in turn, put his hand forward and took the girl’s shaking it and also said, “Done!” Then he reached down, picked up the coins and handed them all over to her. She took them eagerly and eyed them for a moment before putting them in her pouch, which she then stuffed in her tunic. “Very well,” she said, “I should get back to the guild. We will set up your spy network and contact you as soon as we have any information.” Elvisda bowed and replied, “That would be most excellent. Martin will return your gear to you and escort you downstairs.” They had taken a number of daggers, lock picks, and other tools of the thieving trade from her when they brought her to the tower. She strode over to the archer who returned all her items. Then the two of them opened the door and went into the hallway outside. As the door closed, Elvisda could hear the girl ask, “Are they always this extravagant?” He heard Martin reply, “They do pay well. But believe me…you earn it working for them.” Elvisda chuckled and thought, You’ve got that right.
At about the same time Wardina was leaving the Bright Angel, Seth was entering the Grey Swan Inn. He carefully scanned the common room, which was still quite full at this late hour, looking for the woman who resembled Ves. The clientele here was definitely of a higher caliber than the ones down at the Black Pig on the waterfront. This Inn was a step up, though not as fancy as the Bright Angel.
Then he saw her, standing at the bar. She was wearing a black cloak, now open across her shoulders and a low cut black gown underneath. This seemed strange to the young halfling as he remembered Ves exclusively dressed in her shimmering bronze colored dress. He stood next to the woman and softly said, “Ves?” The young blonde woman looked down at the halfling with a confused look on her face. “Do I know you?” she finally said. The voice definitely sounded like Ves, but Ves would definitely know him. “You don’t remember me?” the ninja asked. “You do look familiar,” she replied after a moment’s contemplation, but everything seems fuzzy for some reason. It’s as if there are large gaps in my memory.”
Seth thought this over. Exposure to the mind controlling crystal and the control collars Anya had used could have had an effect on the girl dragon’s memory. Or, maybe this wasn’t Ves at all, but someone pretending to be Ves; someone who was good at shape-shifting. He needed to talk to her some more to make a reasonable assessment.
“Can we go sit down? I’ll buy you a drink and we can talk in private,” he said softly. The young woman seemed to think it over and then said, “Sure. Why not.” Seth led the way to a table that was more or less by itself and sat down with the young lady. The waiter came up and he ordered some drinks.
After the waiter left, Seth turned his attention back to Ves. “So then…you say you have some gaps in your memory. Tell me, do you remember the KOTC?” The young blonde woman thought for a moment and then replied, “Yes, I do. I remember the Bard, Elvisda. And the Wizard, what was his name again, Glo…Glor…” she paused. “Glorfindel,” Seth finished for her. “Yes, that was it,” she agreed, “Glorfindel. I also remember a flamboyant fellow, I think his name was Donato?” Seth smirked at the mispronunciation. “You mean Donatello,” he corrected her. “Ah, forgive me, she said wiping her hand across her brow, “as I said before it is all fuzzy. But I do remember them, and then I seem to remember being over the ocean for some reason. But I only see short images.”
“ Wait!” she cried suddenly, “There were dragons there!” she pronounced enthusiastically. Seth looked around, but no one seemed to be paying attention to them. “No, now it’s gone again,” she said her face dropping and looking rather sad. The little ninja did not know what to think at this point. If she was Ves, she was in a very fragile state. If she was not Ves, then she was a consummate actress.
The ninja decided that he would not be able to tell on his own and needed to maneuver this young woman, if she was a young woman, to come back with him to meet the others. “Ves,” he said quietly, “the rest of the KOTC is staying back at the Bright Angel. Would you like to go back with me and see them?” Her face suddenly brightened. “Why yes,” she replied, “I would love to see them!” Seth dropped a few coins on the table and stood up. “Very good then, follow me.” The young blonde woman rose from her seat and followed the halfling out of the tavern.
While Seth was meeting with the woman who looked like Ves, Glorfindel, Lloyd and Andrella had arrived back at Penwick manor. It had taken them longer than usual because they had walked the length of the town of Lukescros to get there, their horses having been sent back during their sojourn in the Thieve’s Guild hideout.
The group was just entering the manor when Glorfindel received the message from Elvisda relating all Aksel had found out from Fairwind and Shalla. Glo relayed this information to Lloyd and Andrella. The latter grew visibly upset when she heard her mother was enroute to Dunwynn. “They had no right!” the young Lady fumed. “Just because daddy is no longer with us, it does not mean that mother could not run the town! We were doing just fine by ourselves!” she ranted. Then she realized what she said and added, “That is with all of your help.” She grasped Lloyd’s arm and kissed him briefly then smiled at the Wizard.
She is good, Glorfindel thought to himself. She could wrap an entire kingdom around her finger with that charm of hers. That is, once she matured a bit more and learned to control her little outbursts. Out loud he said, “Andrella, I know this must be difficult for you. But we will get both your mother and father back my dear. I swear it.” Lloyd, obviously feeling the need to emphasis the point knelt down in front of her and said, “As do I my Lady!” Andrella, truly moved this time, began to cry. Then she threw herself into the arms of the warblade and began to sob deeply. Lloyd held her for awhile stroking her back and comforting her.
When the sobs finally began to subside, Glorfindel said, “Andrella, dear, I think we should relate this to Lord Hightower. He should at least be made aware of these developments and he may even be able to help us.” The young lady stood back from her paramour, and wiped her eyes dry. “Yes, yes, you’re right,” she agreed. “Let’s go talk to Lord Hightower right now.”
The three of them made their way upstairs to head of the manor’s rooms and knocked on the door. It was late, and when Hightower opened the door, he was in his night robes. “Lloyd! Andrella! Glorfindel! I was wondering what kept you.” Then looking at Andrella’s face he asked, “Is everything alright?” The young lady did her best to hold back the tears. “Y…Yes,” she stammered. Hightower realizing that everything was not alright said, “Please. Come in. Join me by the fire. We shall all have some cognac and you can tell me all that has happened.”
After they had sat down and had a drink, Glorfindel relayed the message he had received from Elvisda about the Lady Fairwind and the state of things in Restenford. Hightower listened giving his full attention to the wizard. He sat quietly for a few moments afterwards, processing all he had heard. When he finally spoke he said, “Do not worry Andrella, we will get her back. But for now, I will send messages to her in Dunnwyn letting her know that you are safe here with us.” Andrella regarded the old man fondly. She was calmer now and simply replied, “That would be greatly appreciated.” She put out her hand and the old man took it between his and patted it. “No problem at all my dear.”
With that being settled, Lloyd decided to ask, “Any word from my father?” Hightower turned to the young man and responded, “Yes, I have been in contact with Lord Stealle. He, and your mother, were quite pleased to hear you had returned, and with such prestigious company I might add.” He patted Andrella’s hand again. The young lady blushed a bit at the compliment. “I do look forward to meeting your parents Lloyd,” she told the young warblade. “And I dare say you will get that chance,” Hightower answered for Lloyd. “I dare say they are looking forward to meeting you as well. But for now, other matters must take precedence. I also informed your father about Ignar’s little fleet and that airship of the Princess Anya’s of Lanfar. They are currently taking steps to handle any intrusion past the dividing line at Colossus point.”
Andrella, looking puzzled asked, “Dividing line?” Hightower smiled at her and replied, “It is an arbitrary point agreed upon by both Dunwynn and Penwick. Dunwynn ships will travel no farther south than that line and Penwick ships will travel no farther north. Any intrusion over the line would be considered an act of war.”
“Well, considering we know that Ignar is headed south from Restenford, I would warn father to expect company,” Lloyd said. “Yes,” Hightower said approvingly. “Yes indeed, Lloyd. We will do just that.” Then Hightower sat back and shook his head wearily.
“What is the matter?” Andrella asked with obvious concern. Hightower responded, “Oh I am sorry. It is just that things seemed to be getting more and more complicated these days. We had sent Dindar, one of our wizards, to the Wizard’s Council to seek their advice. But it has been over five days now and he has not returned.”
“Dindar?” Lloyd said. “I remember him. He was one of mom’s best apprentices. Lasted quite a bit longer than the others. Are you sure something happened to him?” Hightower sat back up and replied, “He teleported to Lymeridia. It shouldn’t have taken more than a day to get an audience with the council. He should have been back two days ago at the latest.” Hightower sighed, “This does not bode well.”
“I think this must be related to all the other disappearances as of late,” Glorfindel interjected. “Even some members of the Wizard’s Council itself have gone missing. In fact, one of our party had gone missing after a teleporter mishap. I am thinking this may very well all be related. I suggest you tell all of your wizard’s on staff to avoid teleportation for the time being.” Hightower nodded his head and said, “I will do that.”
“Good,” the elf replied. “Now then, there’s one more thing we need to discuss and then we will leave you to your rest.” He paused as the others gave him their undivided attention. “I trust there has been no sign of the Wizard Peltar?” Hightower shook his head and said, “None.” Glorfindel nodded. “Very well then. Time is running out. At this point, our most likely lead in the death of our dear friend Grellus is the Assassin’s Guild in Garrotten. There is much circumstantial evidence that ties them to his murder. We had initially tried to infiltrate the Guild, but got sidetracked with the invasion of Restenford by both vampires and Dunwynn forces. I think it is time that we return to Garrotten and root out these assassins and attempt to find the Baron’s heart.”
Lloyd stood up and banged the table. “Agreed!” he cried emphatically. “As do I!” Andrella added also rising to her feet. Hightower considered this for a moment and then said, “We could provide you with a couple of units of Penwick troops, but sending our men so far north may some cause trouble with Dunwynn.”
It was the wizard’s turn to consider. Then Glo shook his head and said, “Thank you but no your Lordship. I think it would be best if we kept this a covert operation. If they see us coming with an army, we might never find the heart.” Hightower nodded his agreement. “It is most likely as you say,” the old nobleman responded. “But at the very least I can provide you with mounts and supplies.” The wizard smiled warmly at the old gentlemen. He got up and put out his hand. “That would be most appreciated your Lordship.” Hightower in turn rose, took the wizard’s hand and shook it. “Done then!” he responded enthusiastically. “I look forward to your triumphant return with my good friend Grellus.”
Meanwhile, back at the Bright Angel, Elvsida heard knocking at the door. It was late and the bard had been almost asleep after a long grueling day. “Martin, can you get that?” the elf cried out from his room. The archer got up from where he was sleeping on the couch and opened the door to the hallway. He was still half asleep when his jaw dropped. He was staring straight at Ves! He blinked and rubbed his eyes. Then he looked again. No he was not dreaming. She was still there. “Ves!” he cried, his joy obvious.
From behind him, Elvisda’s voice could be heard. “Did you say Ves!” Martin turned and yelled back, “Yes. I said Ves! It’s Ves!” Martin replied like a schoolboy who’d found his favorite toy that he thought lost. The archer turned and then realized Seth was there as well. “Oh I’m sorry Seth. I didn’t see you there.” The halfling pushed past the bedazzled archer and into the room dragging the young blonde woman with him by the hand.
As she passed by Martin, she eyed him up and down. “Ves?” Martin replied puzzled, never having seen Ves act this way before. “Is everything alright?” The young woman continued to stare at him and said, “Why yes. I think everything is more than alright,” in a very suggestive tone.
“Martin close the door,” Seth commanded, “and your mouth too. You’re jaw’s hanging open.” The archer caught himself and quickly turned and closed the door to the hall. Then he turned back and saw that Ves was still eyeing him suggestively. The archer actually blushed. “You are too cute!” she told him. “How did I ever let you get away?”
Just then Elvisda came out from his room and Aksel from his. “What’s going on?” they both said nearly at the same time. Seth motioned them to the side and briefly explained about the woman he had found who looked like Ves and his suspicions about her true identity. All during the discussion, Seth kept one eye on the young blonde woman, but she was too busy flirting with Martin to notice the rest of them. Aksel cast a quick spell to detect evil, but nothing came of it. Seth said to Elvisda, “Can you send a message to Glorfindel? He might be able to help us figure out if this is really Ves or not.”
“Certainly,” the bard replied. “But let’s put her somewhere out of the way for now. Ves!” the bard called. The young woman turned and walked over to them, Martin trailing behind. Her amble bosom was half hanging out of her dress it was so low cut. Elvisda ripped his eyes away and fixed them on the young woman’s face. “Yes?” she said, obviously amused at the bard’s dismay. “Umm…” Elvisda began, “we would like to extend our hospitality to you for the evening. We have a spare room that you could use. And we could order you some dinner if you have not eaten yet.”
“No, the room would be fine,” the young woman said. “Please show me to it.” Elvisda motioned to Aksel. The cleric immediately picked up and said, “Certainly. Right this way.” As he led them to the spare room, the young blonde woman turned to Martin and said, “Coming?” The archer blushed crimson red and stammered, “S…sure.” He traipsed after her like a puppy. When they arrived at the room, the blonde woman dragged the archer inside and said, “Thank you. We’ll be fine for now.” Then she slammed the door in Aksel’s face.
The cleric stood staring at the door. He said aloud, “Either Ves was severely affected by that crystal, or that is not Ves!” Seth, walking up to him responded, “See! I told you so.” As they stood there, they began to hear noises come from the room. It sounded as if furniture was being overturned. Then it went quiet. Then they began to hear low moaning. “This is just too much!” Aksel cried moving back from the door.
“What’s going on?” Elvisda said softly walking up to rejoin them. He had just finished sending a message to Glorfindel. “Listen for yourself,” Seth told him. The bard went silent. As he listened he could clearly hear the low moaning coming from the bedroom. He turned and looked at his companions. “I know Ves likes Martin, but this just does not seem like her. Maybe it is not her, but if it is and she has been affected by that crystal, then she will eventually regret what she is doing right now. We have to stop her.”
The bard walked up and knocked on the door. “Is everything alright in there?” he asked. He heard someone moving around and what sounded like furniture being knocked over. “Everything is fine in here!” came Ves’s voice. “Go away!” Elvisda shook his head and replied, “I’m sorry but I can’t do that! Ves, you are not acting like yourself! Something is wrong! I’m coming in!” He slowly turned the handle on the door and pushed it open.
Martin lay on the bed with his shirt off. Ves, lay next to him completely naked, her hands on the archer’s body. When the door opened, the young woman made no attempt to cover herself up. The bard couldn’t help staring. The young blonde woman was beautiful. Young perhaps, but beautiful nonetheless. “Martin!” he cried. “What are you doing?” The archer jumped out of the bed and grabbed his shirt from the floor. “It was her idea!” he cried ashamed. “I couldn’t help myself. I love her! I don’t care if she is a dragon!”
Ves sat up on the bed, still uncovered and said, “See. We are both consenting adults here. So why don’t you leave us alone. Unless, of course, you want to join us,” she finished suggestively. That tore it Elvisda thought. This couldn’t be Ves. Not the Ves he knew. He took out his lute and began playing a tune. He would fascinate her and then get the truth. But as he played she said, “I don’t want music, I want a man. Now put down that silly thing or get out. Martin,” she said turning back to the archer, “get back here.”
“Martin, you will do no such thing,” Elvisda said firmly. The young woman turned and huffed at the bard, “You are no fun. I am getting bored with this. I think it is time for me to be going.” She got off the bed, reached down and grabbed her dress and cloak which were on the floor. But she did not put them on. She just walked up to Elvsida, passing very close to the bard. The elf could feel the heat of her skin as she passed. A lesser elf would have succumb to her charms, but Elvisda had a lot of experience with women. He exerted all his self control and let her pass without so much as moving a muscle.
As “Ves” made it out into the main room, she yelled back to Martin, “Are you coming with me.” The archer followed them out into the main area buttoning up his shirt as he walked. “Martin, don’t you dare!” Elvisda ordered. “You know, you really are a killjoy!” the blonde woman said pouting. “Oh well, your loss.” As she opened the front door, Elvisda reached into his robe and pulled out a wand. He waved it at the retreating woman and tried to cast the spell of hold person on her. But it did not work.
“I’ll follow her,” Seth told them and scurried out the door after her. As he made it out into the hall, the young blonde disappeared around a corner. But as soon as Seth got there, she was gone! He searched down the hallway clear down to the common room. On the steps on the way down he found the black dress and cloak the woman had been carrying. But there was no sign of her.
The ninja made his way out of the tavern. In the street outside, he ran into Glorfindel, Lloyd and Andrella. All three of them had responded to Elvisda’s summons. Seth quickly brought them up to speed. Then the wizard cast a spell to allow him to see what was invisible. But there was no sign of Ves or anyone else for that matter in the area outside the Bright Angel.
They all went upstairs to the tower and caught each other up on all that had transpired. When they had finished the bard declared, “That was obviously not Ves. This smells of Anya. Well two can play that game then. Glo, may I borrow your pearl of friendship?” The wizard handed the jewel over to the bard. Elvisda took the pearl in one hand and said, “Is anyone there?” After a few seconds, a young girl’s voice answered. It was Maya. “Who’s that?” the young dragon girl replied. Suddenly an older girl’s voice responded, “Shut up Maya!” Then everything went quiet.
Elvisda, undeterred, tried again. “Anya, I know you’re listening.” A woman’s laughter could be heard through the pearl. “Yes, yes Elvisda, I am listening. Where are you my love?” The bard smiled in spite of himself. “Why, I am in Lukecros my dear. But you know that by now. I am sure your spy has reported to you already.” Again the Princess laughed. “Why Elvisda, I have no idea of to whom you are referring.”
“Sure Princess,” he replied. “Well then, since you know where I am, then why don’t you meet me here in the morning? I will be at the Dry Goods store first thing stocking up on some supplies.” It was silent for a moment, then the Princess responded, “Alright, it’s a date.” Elvisda replied, “Very good. Oh and one more thing. Maya, Ruka…do not respond. Seek out Lloyd’s people. They will know what to do.”
“Very clever Elvisda!” Anya responded. “I look forward to seeing you tomorrow my love.” Then the pearl went silent. The bard handed the gem back to the wizard. “Okay, then” Aksel said, “looks like we will be leaving for Garrotten first thing in the morning. Get as much sleep as you can everyone.”