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Lords of Norwold - The Mighty Guf Fishby Jeff Daly
Count Diego brought the air raft to a near stop when he saw the crowd of people milling about the centre of town. Unfortunately, this late in the evening, the fishermen were coming in from the harbour, dragging their bounty with them. A great clamour came from the crowd.
"The Guf Fish! The mighty Guf Fish!" came the shouts. And, "Haldebar, you old pirate you!"
Eowyn murmured to Diego, "I want to see what this is all about."
Diego glanced at Aligorum, whose nostrils were pricked as she stared at the crowd in fascination.
The count smirked, "Alright. But watch the cat."
It was Afass that he party had bought the air raft. The craft had been a necessity for following Stan and the runestone, due to their discovery that he too had bought such a device. It was powered by potions, fed into the funnel at the back. It could hold a respectable amount of cargo, and for the long haul was faster than a horse. Having made it to Gufetir in record time, Count Diego felt they could afford to check out the local yokels.
Standing on a few nearby crates, they were able to survey the crowd. A surprising number of the fishermen wore silk or woollen robes. The fellow in the centre, wearing a green silk robe, was being patted on the back and congratulated. Next to him, a huge fish was being hung for all to see. Its golden scales glinted dully in the sun.
"Frankly, I don't see what the--hey!" Diego broke off when Aligorum started forward through the crowd.
"We better follow her," Eowyn said.
The rakasta had a knack for worming her way through the crowd. Unfortunately, Diego did not have that same knack. Several humphs and pardon mes later, they stood at the centre of the ring. Aligorum's eyes were fixed on the fish.
"You there," the man in the green silk called to Diego, "Have you ever tasted the mighty Guf fish?"
"Can't say that I have."
There was an arrogance behind his smile, "Well tonight you will!"
"Does the Guf Fish taste good?" Whispered Eowyn to one of the fishermen. He was a poor looking fellow, his rags barely holding together.
He considered the question, "Ma'am, that ain't the point."
"What is the point?"
"The Guf Fish, its worth a month's fishin' just to catch yerself one."
"-en," Diego corrected primly, without glancing over, "Its golden."
"Nar, its gold. Them scales. Them's gold!"
"Oh?" Diego asked in an over casual manner, "Gold? How much are we talking exactly?"
"Hoo! We talkin' 'bout at least 12 or so..."
"It may not be much fer a lord like yerself, but get yerself a school of 'em and ye can retire. That's quite somethin' fer us that gots no magic."
Diego took a glance at the rakasta, still mesmerised by the fish.
"Hey uh, Haldebar is it?"
"Yes," the man in the green silk called over his shoulder as the crowd was about to carry him away.
"You might want to keep an eye on the cat."
Heldebar turned to Diego and raised a brow, "Sir, your slave is your own responsibility."
Eowyn was about to protest, but Diego forestalled her.
"I'm not arguing responsibility, Held. I'm talking cat. And fish. And cat..."
Heldebar took a quick glance at Aligorum. His face went white at the grin on her face.
A few men still stood admiring the fish when the crowd had passed. The poor fisherman explained to the heroes how to cook the Guf Fish.
"See, its got a bitter taste. The way ye prepares it is to put a whole lotta spices in there. Sometimes they'll bake it into somethin', or add other meat to it. See, the point really ain't the taste."
Eowyn smiled, "Thank you."
Later, as the group relaxed in the local tavern, they made a few quiet, discreet jokes about the Guf Fish and the town's obsession with it.
"Ooh!" Aligorum suddenly announced.
"I forgot something. On the raft."
Diego looked suspicious, "Uh huh. What did you forget?"
"Can't you do without it?"
Aligorum considered the idea, "Nope, really I can't. What's the big deal? Say...wait a minute, say, you don't think I'd...hey, you do, don't you?"
"Yes," they both said in unison.
The rakasta's mouth hung open for a few seconds.
"I'll get it," Eowyn offered.
Aligorum glared back at Diego, until her attention was drawn to the man in green silk robes. He kept making hurried, furtive glances her way, as if concerned she would suddenly bolt for the kitchen, where the fish was even now being prepared.
This prompted the rakasta to don her best "all-knowing cat" smile. This had the effect of frustrating Haldebar to no end.
Eowyn returned the to the table, "Well guys, we better quietly return to the raft about now."
Diego glared at Aligorum.
"Enough time to pull it out of your gullet later. Let's get to the raft."
The group made their way hurriedly, but quietly, to the air raft.
"As I was heading back from the raft, I noticed a couple of men talking about it. It was stolen from the kitchen." Eowyn explained as they poured another potion into the funnel device.
Diego just glared at Aligorum.
"I was there with you the whole time, how could I have done it?"
"There they are!"
A mob stormed out of the tavern, running after the raft as it sped out of town.
"Go this way." Eowyn gestured at a side road.
They went down the road, which led close to the water.
"Here, this house."
Diego stared at her.
"Just do it."
They parked the raft behind the house, which was more of a hovel really.
"If you still have the scales, maybe we could give those..."
Diego kept worrying over the fish, and Aligorum kept denying. So neither one of them saw Eowyn take a bundle out of the raft, and walk it over to the doorstep of the house.
"Alright," She said innocently, "We should be going..."