The mage shrugged. “All he was interested in was taking money. I have a couple of rooms for tonight for us. Come closer.” He hunched in and spoke in a low voice. “I’m getting the impression that Sherlane does not have as tighter fist on this town as he’d have us believe. Nicolai had a knowledge and history with the Iron Ring. He came from here and he was not that old, so I cannot believe he spent that much time in other cities. It would be safe to assume his experience of them stemmed from his time here. It would not surprise me that Golthar, who we know has some kind of arrangement with the ‘Ring’, is seeking aid here. Both leads seem to point to the direction of the poorer quarter of this town.” Miklos sipped his wine. It was better than he expected. “It is a shame we didn’t see where Golthar landed.” he added.
“I’d gamble a font full of wine that the quarter you are referring to is Fogor Isle.” Maruc stood up walked to the bar and looked at the barman. “You chose to ignore my friends question. If you dismiss my question you may regret your rudeness. What can you tell me of the folk and nature of the Isle yonder?”
“Sorry there lad,” the bartender apologize. “Been a busy night and we be short-staffed. The isle be a dangerous place. ‘Tis practically run by the thieves guild. The guard don’t even bother to patrol it at night. Though you danger-seeking types seem to like it just fine, us law abidin’ folk like to keep to the mainland.”
Feldard grinned at the news from the young boy. “Good work lad! Yes, I’ll be wanting to be shown where she lives.” Feldard glanced about with a frown. The party hadn’t regrouped yet – Ludo was still not back. “Hasan, I’m going to grab Maruc and go with the kid to see where Marta lives. Can you wait here with Miklos for Ludo to return… with any luck he’ll have the same information and we’ll meet up there. You folk walk so much faster than I.”
“And what of me, Dwarf!” Stephan barked. “Are you not going to direct me to have another ale?” The woodsman leaned back and noisily crossed his feet on the table. “I can stay here and test the stoutness of this table while you and Maruc go it alone to the slum island.”
Hasan watched Feldard and Maruc depart, and Miklos and Stephan kick up their heels onto the table and drink deeply from the cups. The elf followed the dwarf and human out the door, but kept a discrete bowshot behind the odd couple. He watched as they followed a young, ragged boy that looked to have seen about 11 summers down the small side street, Duck’s Back Way. The street’s stones were slick the villagers’ watery offal, waste and excess, but the elf’s footfalls were sure and silent, even as foot traffic diminished.
* * * * *
After collecting some supplies Ludo had arrived at the Hook and Hatchet.
Ludo placed a tankard on the table for Arthol. “My thanks to you Sergeant, you professionalism does you and your command proud. By taking us to the Court you quickly allowed my friends and I to voice our warnings in public and to allow you and the town to be on guard against this evil magic user. Mark my words he will bring nothing but trouble to Threshold. However if I could be so bold to ask a further favour from you, could you direct me to a the mother of a fallen comrade of mine, I seek to return her sons remains to her as a final request. I know she lives here in Threshold but not where. She needs to know her son has passed on, fighting against evil, so that he can be honoured. My fallen comrades name is Nicolai Filandov and his mothers name is Marta. I would be grateful for some information.”
At the mention of Nicolai’s death, the sergeant’s demeanor softened. “Nicolai is gone? I remember him well. A troublemakin’ little pipsqueek he was. There was none more in the ranks more proud than I, to see him turn ‘round his thievin’ ways for the sake of his ma. Bought her way off the Isle with the earnings he be sending back her way. Part o’ me suspected he went back to cutpursin’, so I be glad to hear your tale. Thanks to her son, Marta got herself a small flat just on the other side of Ol’ Town Wall.”
The sergeant grabbed a parchment from the barkeep and drew Ludo a map. “I wish ye well. Won’t be easy news to break. Least she still has her daughter to comfort her.”
* * * * *
The boy led the group to the other side of Old Town Wall. Long ago, Threshold had outgrown its gates, and now Old Town Wall was riddled by so many gates and openings that it served more as a point of interest than a reasonable defense. Inside the wall were most of the town’s businesses, while personal dwellings and estates lied between it and the new wall.
“That be here place right there,” gestured the boy. He directed them to a modest tenement. “She be on the bottom floor residence.”