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The Lords of Norwold and a sad parting

by Jeff Daly

"Will I--Will I ever see you again?" Eowyn's eyes were large and round conjuring, despite her human blood, a vision of the elven beauties of old.

"Oh, I don't know lady Eowyn," Stan replied, with his characteristically husky, low voice, "Somewhere, some day, perhaps. If this misty world turns again, and the uncaring fates choose to throw us together once more, then perhaps we'll see each other again."

Then, remembering something, he dug in his jacket pocket, "Here, I bought you a little present."

The bracelet he handed her was small, tied with a bow. It was worked beautifully, but not quite elven in nature.

And therefore quite appropriate, Eowyn thought to herself.

"Thank you," is what she said.

"Oh, it was nothing."

Stan suddenly grabbed Count Diego, as he had been quietly shuffling past.

"This makes it all worth while!"

The entire group watched in shock and horror, as Stan gave Diego a great big hug. Diego's eyes were wide, and perhaps it was only his stunned state which allowed Stan to smirk, touch Eowyn on the cheek once more, and walk quickly away into the gathering dusk.

She was careful to conceal her amusement, as the Count gathered his dignity about him. The group continued through the processing line, first T, then Diego, being asked if they were spellcasters, and then being required to prove it in a side room. Eowyn's mind was on other things, as she shook her head no, she wasn't a spellcaster, and no she did not have an account in the Sundsvall bank.

Immediately, the official asking the questions turned away from her, and asked, "Which one of you claims this one?"

"I don't want her," answered T.

Diego seemed about to reply, when Eowyn cut him off, "No wait, I do cast spells. Its just not really my main profession."

The official turned back and stared at her for a moment, "Very well, follow that man."

"That man" was a grey cloaked, no-nonsense sort of individual, who led her to a safety room and had her demonstrate a minor conjuring. She tossed a light into the air, and he nodded, satisfied.

Back outside, Diego and T argued over a map. Aligorum was standing there, glaring daggers at Eowyn.

"What's wrong with the cat?" She asked Diego.

"Oh, nothing," he waved the question away.

"I'm your slave," Aligorum responded simply, punctuating the comment with a wicked, mirthless smile, "This means you are responsible for me."

Upon saying this, a look came over the rakasta, as of someone realising the open boundaries before him for the first time.

"Just see that you don't make trouble, so I don't have to beat you."

That got her. Aligorum went back to the glare.

"What the? He stole it!" Diego started fuming and shouting.

"What? What?"

"The runestone! It was Stan! He stole the runestone!"

Eowyn swallowed, "I'm sure there is some sort of explanation...let's not jump to conclusions..."

"Indeed," Diego replied coldly, "Let us catch up to him, and ask him politely to give an explanation."

She nodded.

He continued, "Then we shatter him."