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Lords of Norwold - Trikelios

by Jeff Daly

"Now THIS is my idea of a town," Count T Pendleton Waznust muttered to no one in particular.

Aligorum paused only a moment, seeing an empty place setting next to Master Terari. The mage had a tendency to be as calm and enigmatic as a rakasta, and Aligorum did not particularly like that. She sat on the opposite side of the empty setting, and licked her sharp teeth once in anticipation of the matching salmon which would soon adorn her own plate.

When the cook came out of the galley, Aligorum addressed him.

"Could I have mine--"

"Live. Aye. Ah know mistress Aligorum. Ah've been servin ye yer fish this way fer the whole trip."

Aligorum nodded to him, forgetting his existence. The fish opposite her kept drawing her attention. This was getting frustrating. Soon natural curiosity would take over and she would be either batting it around or batting the mage around.

Count Diego and Eowyn came into the mess at that moment.

"Expecting someone?" Diego asked.

Terari chuckled, "No, oh no. No I'm not expecting anyone."

Diego shrugged and sat down.

Soon everyone had been served. Aligorum barely looked at the feebly wriggling fish on her plate. Surely she could deny her curiosity as long as any of the humans?

Growling low as she watched them all eat placidly, she turned to Terari.

Through clenched teeth she asked, "Why is there a plate set out for no one next to you?"

There. It was done. She barely even listened to the explanation.

"Oh! I'm sorry. I so often forget you do not know our customs. This is the Night of the Ancestors. On these nights, it is tradition to set out a portion of every meal for any spirits who wish to wander by and partake of the meal. During dinner, stories are told of relations both recently dead and long dead."

That day at sea was spent mainly below deck. Aligorum had wandered above at one point, to find the deck way too rocky for her tastes. Brimstone, as always, could be found fishing from the rail. The activity had turned into an obsession with him!

Toward the end of the day, a sailor hurried below and asked Diego, Aligorum, and the others to join them for dinner. On deck, Terari had a magical fire going, and had apparently calmed the sea as well. For the moment there was not a single swaying, everyone gathered around the fire, leaving spaces here and there for any wandering spirits. A huge fish had been caught, no doubt by Brimstone, and was even now being cooked off to one side.

A sailor was currently telling a story about some fellow he referred to as his "Paw". Aligorum found that interesting. When he finished, the tales kept passing, one to another. Finally, only a few sailors and the lords themselves had not told a tale.

Terari smiled at Diego, "Surely the great count has some ancestor he wishes to speak about. He does not have to of course..."

Diego nodded, "I got one."

He stood and gazed at everyone with the crankiest look he could muster. Then he relaxed his face and gazed up at the night sky. His mouth curved into a slight, faraway smile.

"I remember Uncle Fester. He taught me my first spells."

Diego's voice was gentle, almost loving.

"He had a wonderful way of...of showing the proper way to cast. He taught me the shatter spell, you know."

He shook his head, smiling, "I remember, heh, I remember he once took this cat--"

At that moment a haunting whistling sound began. The sailors looked uncomfortably at one another.

It came again.

This time the sound was found to be coming from a flute, at Eowyn's side. She smiled apologetically and shifted herself so the wind could not play through it.

Clearing his throat, Diego began again, "Anyway, he took this cat. He took this cat and he--"

The sound came again. The tune was low and lovely and chilling at the same time.

(At this point a ghost appears and recites a song. I didn't bring it with me, but will include it in the next instalment)

Looking around, the heroes noted the sailors had quietly returned to the duties.

The next morning, they found themselves in sight of Trikelios.

Avoiding the lengthy wait, inspection, wait, and docking process by hitching a ride with the harbourmaster, Count T, Count Diego, Aligorum, Sliv, and Eowyn began their tour of Trikelios.

The city was a large, clean, strong-looking place. The no-nonsense sort of town that served as a naval base as well. Many of the finest ships in the empire came from Trikelios, and military personnel could be seen on every street.