Friends of the Wizard
“Tell Sallos he can die in a hole,” Juniper said.
We checked the ropes binding the gnome again.
Then Anastasia and I got a head start. We ran from the house at full speed. We both knew at any moment Stargrove was going to remove the amulet from around Juniper's neck. The chance of the gnome transforming into a hook horror the moment we removed his amulet seemed high.
I heard the snapping of ropes and smashing of furniture behind us. I didn’t stop running for a long time.
We met up again at a downed tree that forded the river we had crossed to make our way here. The log was slick and moldy, but I still had an easier time crossing than I did the day before. Stargrove followed me. Anastasia took the opportunity to jump into the river and cavort around in the water a bit. Because she could I suppose.
The ranger’s impeccable sense of direction leads us back to the city of glass. With the constant reminder of the monstrocity behind us, we made good time. Stargrove was grumpy with no sleep but did his best to hide it as he lead us through the woods to the forest edge.
As we approached the City of Glass we hurried to the city gate. Behind us massive ebony eyes watched us from the treeline. We have not seen the last of Juniper I think.
Stationed at the gate were the Lassaril, guards famed throughout Dassos. One of them had removed his helmet and placed it upside down on the street. All the guards were taking turns trying to bounce pebbles into the helmet. Laughing or cheering followed each throw depending on the results. They waved us through without much notice.
The three of us made our way back to Sallos’s place. There were a few kids outside the massive tower trying to toss rocks into the windows. I wondered if their aim was better or worse than the soldiers
Sallos was where we last saw him. In his study behind an ornate desk, writing on a scroll while books floated around him. A spectral, hand stopped us briefly while Sallos finished his writing.
“My friends,” he told us, “I have news for you. There is good and bad.”
We sat down across from him as he told us that Captain Pasal is alive and somewhere on the continent. That was good. The bad was that his location is being blocked by magics Sallos cannot scry through. This pointed to the existence of an advanced wizard in league with the ones holding Pasal. Sallos’s interest was peaked. There was also the disappearance of the first mate of Passel’s ship to consider. He agrees to continue researching the situation as long as we continue to help him with various errands. He warned us to be careful though “Kidnappers are a dangerous sort.”
Pleased with that sentence that he called the minotaur over to write it down. The reading material that interests him in the City of Glass has grown thin. So he is paying Mister Meellos to write new ones for him. With his ideas, of course.
The wizard asked if we retrieved his trinket from the gnome Juniper. Stargrove passed it over. The wizard stared at the amulet. “Hmmm, You think something so valuable would be kept in better condition.”
Anastasia voiced her concern about leaving the gnome in his monstrous form. Sallos reassured us that it is well within Juniper’s ability to come and visit him. They are old friends and the gnome is avoiding the wizard only because he is stubborn.
The Dragonborn said, " Juniper’s point of view was that he would die if he met the wizard."
Sallos brushed that aside as a lie and was more interested in the poetic turn of Stargrove’s words. He called the minotaur over to write it down before shuffling us out the door. Off we went to examine this disappearance of the first mate.
The same kids were playing outside the tower as when we entered. Before the door could close one of them pitched a stone through the opening. The same rock shot out a window on the top floor. It was such a long drop that the stone shattered when it hit the ground. The kids all stare wide-eyed and is shock.
I made a mental note to never attempt to sneak into Sallos’s tower.
The Sea Shepherd and her Druid Companion
Captain Passal’s ship, the Sea Shepherd, sat dormant and empty in the harbor. The gangplank was removed, the crew absent. I stopped to take note of the ships design. Cardved into the bow of the ship was a shepherd with windblown hair holding a hook surrounded by three sheep. As I admired Stargrove turned to speak, “Sheep are delicious but the brains are not as good as you would expect.”
“Oh,” I said. Then quickly followed after Anastasia who was approaching the harbormaster. He was a wide man wearing a waxed coat and a tri-corn hat.
Being the most familiar with maritime life we let her do all the talking. The man paged through sheets of paper clipped to a splintery board that made up his logbook.
While they talked I kept an eye on the Sheppard. At some point, a jug of brown liquid was empty from a lower porthole. So. Not abandoned.
After the man leaves Anastasia tells us what she learned. The Sea Sheppard voyage has been delayed indefinitely. They are now just holding the space for ship storage. The first mate’s name is Adderan and he is often seen at a tavern called the Wicker Goat. She was also instructed to “Check the Gutters,” as wayward sailors have a habit of getting murdered.
When the harbormaster was checking the ledgers, Anastaisa recognized the name of a friend on the docket. A fellow druid who had been hired to atten the Sheppard on her voyage. So Anastasia suggest we start there.
A lopsided house of dark wood planks and a bark roof rested on the eastern side of the pier. Fishnets hung from its rafters. A cobblestone chimney pumped multi-colored smoke from its top. “Druids only I’m afraid,” Anastasia said to Stargrove and I just before she slipped inside.
Stargrove said we should stand guard until her return. I told him he could, “I'm gonna go snooping," And I made my way back towards the Sea Shepherd.
On my way to the ship, I have an idea. I flash a platinum at the Harbormaster. Then asked if he’d seen anyone matching my ex-husband Alexi’s description. He told me he hadn’t, but to check with the bartender at the Wicker Goat, who is “a Smart cookie and may have seen your husband.”
I thanked the harbormaster and handed him the coin telling him to keep an eye out for Alexi. He agreed. Of course, he did. That was a fucking platinum!
It’s a long jump from the pier to the edge of the Sea Shepherd. I attempt it when no one is watching, and for good reason. I was hanging form the side of the ship for nearly a minute before I could pull myself onto the deck. dropping down on my stomach as soon as I land, to not be seen.
I crawl over to the captain’s quarters, which are locked and appear abandoned. I time a firm blow to the doors lock, attempting to strike it in unisqne with lock banging of the dockworkers. It still draws the attention of sailors on the neighboring vessel so I slip inside as quickly as I can.
The effort is a waste though, there is nothing of interest in the captain's quarters. I sneak back out and make my way toward the lower deck. I am on the stairs when I hear voices from below. I eavesdrop but it's talk of shipping lines and crewing. Nothing indicates a nefarious plot. Then I notice the the conversation begins to get louder as the people start to climb the stairs toward me.
I dash towards the edge of the ship and the pier. In my rush, I don't time my jump well enough and collide with dockworkers carrying crates of wine when I land. The workers' cargo drops in a cacophony of shattered bottles and yells.
The crew of the Sea Shepperd, now above deck. “She was sneaking around our ship. Stop her!” One of them yells.
I run. I have a fair lead but I can hear them jumping onto the docks and chasing me down. When I get to Stargrove Anastasia is just coming out of the druid houses. He sees me coming in full tilt and says, “Running?”
I nod, “Running!”
We race towards the market streets hoping to lose our pursuers in the crowds of people. I cut behind a market stall and then dash around a side street. In my haste, I crash into the same group of winemakers hauling a different set of crates. I hit the street in an explosion of glass wine and dust.
Anastasia vanishes. Not like runs away, she literally disappears into thin air with the wave of her hand. I turn to Stargrove but he has already crossed the street and dove through a window. My pursuers are almost on me. I dust myself off take a deep breath and continue running.