This town is dull. We managed to sell some of the haul, which I’m pleased about, but we still have some spider-fur cloaks and spider-silk carpets and so on, plus some statues of Duke Blackstone that we’re going to offer to him.
Before we got that sorted, Catrain, Esther and I headed into the town. Esther went into the River’s Rest to check things out, and that innkeeper I mentioned before chased her out, saying that “her kind” weren’t welcome. And her kind, of course, is my kind. Your kind.
Esther had to run away from the place. Catrain bumped into the local oiks pursuing her, and ended up in a confrontation with the innkeeper. I don’t know the details, but I know he swung for her and cut at her harp. He is very much owed some trouble, but I’ll have to be careful; Hanneke’s far too interested in being a goodie two-shoes. If I go all-out at this innkeeper, and Hanneke finds out, I don’t fancy my chances. Especially now that we’ve decided to get the Hearthbreakers back together full-time…
Anyway, with the Vengeful Knave’s help, I went into the River’s Rest while Catrain was having her set-to. He let me look like a Brokenhammer dwarf – albeit a short one – and I poured the innkeeper’s ink all over the letter he was writing to Lord Blackstone. He talked about us as ne’er-do-wells and all but accused us of killing the Duke! When I headed out of the inn, I did Catrain a favour and pointed the mob that was chasing her in the wrong direction. Then I settled down to wait for the courier.
I managed to get a hold of the letter that the innkeeper managed to write on his one remaining sheet of parchment; I told the courier that the innkeeper had sent me to get it back so he could make some changes, and that he’d get paid double for his trouble. Courier seemed to believe it.
So I went back to the Keep. It turned out that the two surviving guards (Anton and Helga) weren’t bothering to show up to work. Good to know. Worse news: there’s nothing like enough in the vault to pay us what we were promised, much less the danger money, and when Esther took a look around the place, she didn’t see too much stuff that was both portable and valuable, you know? So that night, we took matters into our own hands; Catrain helped out with some singing, and Esther snuck into the housekeeper’s room and stole her keys. That let us get up into the Duke’s quarters, where Esther found some very shiny things, although they don’t even put a dent in what we’re owed. I had a look through the books and paperwork, but it was all pretty dull land-management nonsense.
So we left, locked the door behind us, and got some sleep. In the morning, Kolyev and I finished curing Catrain of the poison, and Ace and Esther worked on a better version of the innkeeper’s letter. Hanneke had picked up this young girl who wanted to be like her when she grew up. I thought it was a great idea, but Esther thought it was a bad one. Either way, Hanneke is far too interested in doing things by the book, so started telling the kid to look after horses and clean armour and stuff. Even got Ace to make her a wooden training sword! And started talking to Cruenna about buying the kid to send her to wherever Hanneke grew up…
The other thing that Ace and Hanneke had been up to was talking to Harigin, who apparently wanted to hire us to head up to Brokenhammer with him to deliver that spear we found. He says it’s made of starmetal (which is good) and has huge sentimental value to the dwarves. Here’s hoping they’re keen to give us a reward! They’re also going to want the location of the dead dwarves we found (that I sent to the House of Locks). Well, they’re welcome to the bodies – I already have what I wanted from them!
Anyway, so, I went back into town and gave the courier his two gold and the corrected letter. I thought “what the hell?” and gave him another two gold to start spreading tales of the Dragonslayers about his route, which has got to be the biggest bargain I’ve heard of in a long time. I called in on Helga, and explained that she ought to get back to work to make a good impression on the woman who’ll hopefully be running the town soon. If nothing else, she’ll make a good patsy when someone discovers Esther’s and my handiwork.
Sending money down to you is looking to be pretty difficult from here. I’ll see if I can work something out, or if not then I’ll just keep a tally and get it all to you in one lump when I can.
Once we’d got everything sorted, we headed out with Harigin. The idea is that we’ll get back in just less than the time it takes for Lord Blackstone’s representative to arrive. That way we can hopefully get paid what we’re owed, as well as sell off the statues and all that. Passed a guy in a cart on the way, who told us that there were some bandits on the road, and one of them was twice the size of the others.
So, yeah, we got ready and carried on. When this ogre and his two buddies popped up, I laid some of the Bitter Hand’s fear on the big one, and that started things off. It was a pretty messy fight – slow work, even with the Avenger’s Blade. Kolyev’s new dire badger companion got killed by the ogre, poor thing. Otherwise, we managed to do away with them and kept on going up the mountains. We’ve just arrived at the gates of the Brokenhammer mountain-home, which is good because I was pretty worried that the place was going to be full of a dragon. We still don’t know where those elven assassins came from, or why they killed the Duke and Duchess. We don’t know where that dragon came from or if it’s on its own. We don’t even know if Lord Blackstone is going to try to have us strung up as murderers or something. But we are definitely getting paid.