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Heroes of Mystara - Chapter 3

by Jesper Andersen

House call

It was near dawn when the party of adventurers made it to the gates of Rymskigrad. There was no snow in the valley but the wheels of the carts bringing fresh vegetables into the town still sank heavily into the sticky mud. The group followed the peasants to the local marketplace and searched around for a tavern to get some breakfast. When they arrived at the Broken Mug the owner was still busy removing the shudders from the windows and taking down vines of garlic hung there during the night. They had a hearty meal of greasy fried potato pancakes and the strong local beverage, also made from potatoes, which fell much in Wulfgar's and Whitemane's liking.

After breakfast they decided to rest for a few hours before seeing Fyodor Ilyaevich and got a couple of rooms. When they were rested, the party donned their arms and armour and went to pay a visit to the wine merchant. Ikaros had no idea how he was going to pay the outrageous sum that Fyodor would no doubt ask for the staff, but he was fairly sure that if trading the staff for a number of services would not do, young Petja would probably help him steal it. Whatever they did, they had to be sure not to attract the attention of Morphail Gorevitch-Wozlany - the dark prince of Boldavia, whose castle cast its evil shadow over the lives of everyone in the town. Although most Glantrians believed Morphail to be the young descendant of a long line of Boldavian princes that had ruled these forsaken mountains in the past three centuries, deep down in their hearts the fearful subjects of Boldavia knew the awful truth.

The group was admitted into Fyodor's presence just as he was getting ready to have his own breakfast: slightly salted salmon eggs on toast, a local speciality, and a chilled glass of New Averoigne champagne. The fat merchant wiped his mouth with a napkin and looked inquisitively at the group - especially the dwarf, which was not a common site in the principalities of Glantri.
'My lord', Ikaros began, 'we represent a certain party who has taken an interest in the belongings of the mage Palando. I understand that you took possession of most of his household when he died and we are here to conduct a trade'. Fyodor's eyes narrowed as he watched the party carefully but he did not seem to recognise the former apprentice of his debtor. 'That is almost two years ago', he said carefully, 'most of it I have sold on to other parties. What, in particular, holds your interest?' Ikaros could feel his heart sink as he replied 'my employer has sent me to bargain for a staff taken from Palando's study. A black staff, adorned with golden runes and symbols, about six feet in height'. 'Well, then I am afraid you are too late' Fyodor said. 'I sold that staff in the spring. I already had a... coat hanger you see'. The fat merchant smiled as he saw the hopes wane on the party's faces. 'But for a small sum I might ask my accountant to look up who I sold it to', he added.

Ikaros reached into a pocket in his coat - unlike most wizards he did not wear a robe - and pulled out a purse with 25 Lucin, the gold coin of imperial Thyatis. Immediately, a servant stepped up to him and received the purse and brought it to Fyodor who was still sitting behind his breakfast table. Smiling, the wine merchant looked inside and with a grin he said 'I sold it to the wizard Balagarn, who lives up high in the northern mountains of the barony of Pavlova. If you feel like a walk you should be there in four or five days. My shop can sell you all the supplies you may need'.

Next chapter: Beware the dog!