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Heroes of Mystara - Chapter 14by Jesper Andersen
A nightly visitor
After ordering some beer and eating their meal, which, despite being partly cooked with magic, was very tasty, the party got up to look around for accommodations for the night. They asked some of the locals, who were still singing in the streets, and were directed to an inn called the Serpent's Eye right across the street from the All Night Long Restaurant.
They made their way to the inn and got six single rooms on the second floor. It was still early in the evening, so they decided to sit in the main room below and have a few drinks before going to bed. Eveil had them all try Ierendi's famous wine made from the resin of the koa trees - the special native mahogany the Makai also used for shipbuilding. Whitemane and Wulfgar were not too fond of it and quickly reverted to imported ale.
They started talking about getting the audience with the tribune when Ikaros made another point:
'Don't forget that I, at least, am also here to find trace of the mages dressed in white who slew Balagarn!'
With the pirates' attack and the long journey via Utter Island the others had completely forgotten about Palando's staff.
'Well, I guess we'll have to keep our eyes and our ears open when we go up to the palace and see if we cannot learn something of whether or not the Honor Island Mages have a representative at court or not', Petja said.
They were having another round of drinks when Wulfgar suddenly noticed a man watching them from a table in the shadows of a corner across the room. He was chubby and in need of a shave and he was wearing a green shoulder cape with a fixed hood.
'Don't look', he said turning to the others, 'but there is a man in a green hood watching us from the corner behind me'.
'Where?' Petja asked looking immediately in that direction. Wulfgar quickly looked over his shoulder in the direction of the man's table and saw that he was gone. He quickly looked around and saw the back of him disappearing out the door into the street.
'Strange', Wulfgar said. 'Do we follow him?'
'Nah' Petja said. 'Probably just a local thug trying to estimate whether we would be a profitable target. Relax! It's common'. He smiled a smile to his Northman friend that showed he knew what he was talking about and Wulfgar went back to his drinking.
Outside, the man in the green hood quickly walked down a couple of dark alleys before turning to a run-down old house. He carefully looked around before knocking a tapping code on the door and shortly after a small hole opened in it and a pair of unfriendly eyes stared out. The hooded man mumbled a few words and the door was opened to him. Quickly, he stepped inside.
At the Serpent's Eye the party were going to bed. Ikaros, Wulfgar and Petja had rooms facing the street, while Whitemane, Eveil and Thaminor got rooms facing the quiet river.
It was well past midnight when Wulfgar awoke from a noise at the window. There was no light because he had put the candle out in his room but he could make out a tiny figure coming in via the moonlit window. As silently as he could, he reached out and picked up a small three-legged chair next to his bed, which he then hurled at the intruder, who was crossing the floor. Wulfgar hit him right in the face and the tiny figure was knocked down with a surprised 'aauuww!'
In no time Wulfgar was upon him and sat across his chest dealing him a couple of severe blows to the face with his fist. Without lighting the candle, Wulfgar proceeded to tie his captive up with a length of rope from his pack when suddenly Ikaros was standing in the door with a candlestick in his hand. The Glantrian was still in his nightcap and white nightshirt.
'What is going on, Wulfgar?' he said.
'I caught an intruder', Wulfgar said harshly. 'Bring the light closer and let us have a look at him'.
When Ikaros approached him with the candles they could see that it was no man, Wulfgar had caught. He was short, only about three feet tall, and had heavy sideburns and large, hairy feet. It was a halfling - one of the little folk of the Five Shires.
'Ask him what he is doing here' Ikaros said.
'I can't. I am afraid I may have hit him a little too hard' Wulfgar replied.
Ikaros found a jug of water and tossed it in the halfling's face, who woke up sputtering and whining.
'Who are you? What are you doing here?' Wulfgar demanded and shook the little fellow violently.
'My...my name is Myrmeen. I am terribly sorry, please don't hurt me!' the little halfling cried.
'Who told you we were here? What did you come here to steal?' Ikaros said harshly and pointed a threatening finger at the quivering thief.
'I...nobody told me anything. I saw the gold in your purse when you paid your bill downstairs and... oh, please let me go. I swear I'll never break into people's rooms again!' Myrmeen said.
'Hmm, should I call the city guard or just toss him out the window?' Wulfgar asked Ikaros.
'We're three stories up!' Myrmeen whined.
'No, I have a better idea' Ikaros said. 'Listen, thief. We will let you go on one condition'.
Myrmeen nodded intensively to show that he understood and Ikaros continued: 'If we let you go you have to promise us your service at some point in the future when we may have need for it. Swear that, and we will let you go'.
'I swear it' the little burglar said quietly.
'Good. Know that I am a wizard of Glantri. My magic will hold you to your word and you will suffer terribly if you break your oath' Ikaros said in a grim voice.
The halfling nodded eagerly and Wulfgar untied him and he ran out of the room as fast as his short legs could carry him. Wulfgar and Ikaros looked at each other and laughed.
'Well, such a contact may come in handy at some point' Ikaros said with a satisfied smile. 'Goodnight Wulfgar'.
'Goodnight Ikaros' the warrior replied.
Next time: To the palace