After the Cundall’s Hole adventure, the party had some downtime. The days had been turning colder for some time now, and now at the end of the second month of autumn, an icy wind blew off the Moonsea, indicating winter was nearly here.
During his time off Minimus went on a bit of a bender and got into some trouble with those who police Elventree. It was nothing serious but he did have to pay a 40 gold piece fine (Elanil told him sternly that if they had a jail he would have been put there for a few days). During his time he scandalised the community by having a very public, romantic fling with a feisty, dusky skinned human female named Shaniqua, who was a known “party animal”, and who was not in the least bit intimidated by Minimus’ reputation. Many said it was she who led the renown hero astray and into trouble, but the party knew better. Minimus himself said his behaviour was a “one off” and he had been just letting off steam. Even after he sobered up, he retained his association with Shaniqua and they were often seen together at the Tree Spirits tavern.
Cundall’s stay in Hillsfar was much shorter than Marie’s. He visited the priests of Chauntea at Lastholme and found them overrun with orphan babies, an indication of how far the madness had affected the lust of many of the folk of the town. He helped out a little, but was mainly there as a safe place to cast a locate object spell. He was looking for a specific magic item called The Deck of Many Things. Cundall had wanted this legendary magic item as soon as he had heard about it in stories. He had cast this spell before – in fact as soon as he gained the ability to do so – but never had a positive result. This time however, the spell indicated a positive reading which led him to a shop in the wealthier district of Hillsfar. He came to an antiques shop, and entered. He found that the owner of the shop appreciated Cundall’s straightforward approach and he acknowledged that he did have in his possession the rare magic item the Deck of Many Things. There was some negotiating, but really Cundall knew immediately the owner was no pushover and had a price he wouldn’t budge from, which was higher than Cundall could afford. The only thing in Cundall’s favour was that it was often difficult to find a buyer who could afford such an item. When the druid had counted out all his valuables – and many of the party’s valuables as well – from the bag of holding it wasn’t enough to purchase the item. It was then he offered the dagger of Lolth, the magic dagger of banishing they had found in the Fane of Lolth in Szith Morcane (see Szith Morcane Rescue – Part 4). They settled on a price of a thousand gold pieces, plus the dagger, for the Deck of Many Things. Cundall left Hillsfar elated.
While at the Mage’s Guild Marie was spoken to by the Master of the Mages’ Guild Nash Sorinius about taking on an apprentice. Initially she was reluctant because of her time spent adventuring, but eventually she agreed and returned to Elventree with an apprentice named Jerrard, a pock-marked and broody youth, the middle son of a merchant who was likely to get no inheritance. He did have a keen mind though, and good attention to detail.
“You can bring him along on our next adventure,” said Cundall, shaking Jerrard’s hand. “We need someone to open trapped doors.”
“He’s joking,” said Marie to Jerrard, noting her apprentice’s uncertain expression. “Mostly.”
Jerrard was housed in The Swaying Bough inn where Marie gave him some study to be going on with when she wasn’t around. He was a young man who seemed to take everything seriously and with an intense wonder.
“Has he actually ever been outside of Hillsfar before?” asked Zelda, watching Jerrard looking at the sky, and then the trees and tree houses of Elventree.
“He has, but not for any length of time,” said Marie. “I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do with him. I might get him to copy spells when he gets a bit better at it.”
“There’s a big party for the Feast of the Moon in the Hall of the Unicorn tomorrow night,” said Minimus. “Elanil is going to perform. Have you heard her play? She’s amazing.”
“Everyone in Elventree will be there,” said Cundall. “It’s always a huge party.”
“Let’s go get a drink,” said Minimus. “I’m freezing my arse off out here. No above ground adventuring until winter is over!”
“We’ll go wherever we’re needed,” replied Zelda. “The needs of the people come before our personal discomfort.” She winked. “But hopefully the needs of the people will not stretch to snowy adventures!”
To be continued…