Wistark and Norman arrive at the gates of Alba’s capital on 58th Winter 372. Neither have ever been to the city before, but fortunately Norman was given some directions to the University of Heddibrun, Finnagin’s home and workplace. On the journey there they pass a scuffle between five city guards and a giant with a shark’s tailfin on his head. It is Grimlock Skullfucker, in the midst of being arrested on suspicion of being the dragonborn mentioned in a number of recent complaints.
Wistark intervenes on Grimlock’s behalf and, after implying that his word is that of the Knights of Arcelor, the guards release the great lizard into his custody. Skullfucker had apparently left Raylack to hunt deer but got lost chasing them and spent the next 40 days wandering aimlessly across the country. When Wistark asks how he then ended up in Gerelden, the dragonborn’s response is simply, “Where?”. There are clearly no further explanations to be gained here, so Wistark gives up on questioning the lost warrior and invites him along.
Half an hour later the trio reach Heddibrun University and the office of Professor Finnagin. Wistark demands a moderate deposit before surrendering the book which the knight captain is quick to supply. Oliver has no idea what to expect from the mysterious tome and is intent on reading it from front to back. This will likely take several days so the scholar recommends a local inn, the Cantering Cow. As Wistark and Grimlock begin to leave, Norman declares that he will continue to accompany the wizard as a bodyguard. This is rather suspicious but, as he is a Knight of Arcelor, the three leave together regardless.
They have lunch in a nearby market, eating their fill while standing amongst the small, shaded stalls and browsing the various wares on offer. Norman manages to get a hearty meal for free by taking generous helpings of the samples on offer. Grimlock is fascinated by a beautiful red parrot and seriously considers buying the bird despite the 150ip price tag. Ever vigilant, Norman suddenly notices that a street urchin is silently following Wistark.
Escapade: Dukes and Moor
The lad is captured and interrogated, then the dwarf, the wizard and the lizard stage a disastrous ambush on the urchin’s mercenary employers, the Dukes and Reds. This leads to an incredibly outmatched stalemate. In the end the mercenaries stand down and vengeful Raylack soldier Ignatious Moor joins the party. The uncomfortably silent quartet leave the slums and return to the market. Norman and Grimlock eat more free samples. Wistark and Grimlock browse the wares of a weaponsmith. Grimlock and Grimlock agonise over whether or not to buy a crimson macaw. The shopping comes to a sudden halt when a band of thieves appear and attempt to rob everyone.
Encounter: Swindling Droogs
The robbers are knocked out, tied up and taken away by guards. As merchants and customers begin to return, Grimlock stuffs a red parrot into the hood of his werewolf skin cloak. The group leave the scene and find the Cantering Cow as the setting sun casts Gerelden in its first amber rays. The inn is warm, well maintained and very pleasant. Four rooms are purchased for the night and, as Grimlock and Norman tuck into a generous buffet, Wistark returns to the office of Oliver Finnagin with his sour new shadow.
The professor has found nothing interesting yet, but there is still an incredible amount of study to do. Shizbitts and Moor return to the inn to find that Norman has been joined by a second Knight of Arcelor. To Wistark’s relief and pleasure it is his old companion Gravilla Bloodrock. Having been persistently disobedient to her superiors, the goliath was demoted after the events in Raylack and assigned to Norman as a servant. Greetings and brief introductions are exchanged over a hearty supper and then the group go to their rooms with full stomachs.
Norman and Gravilla quickly fall asleep. Wistark stays up for a while and leafs through the Grimorium Verum as Grimlock tries to teach his stolen parrot how to speak. Cautious Ignatious blocks the handle of his bedroom door with a chair, then lies awake thinking of his newest debt. Though the Dukes and Reds had assisted him in his mission against the leader of the Risen Adventurers to repay a favour, after all that had happened he was now the one who owed them. The grim soldier is unable to rest, which is just as well. Alas that this inn would turn out to be even more dangerous than the last.