The inn was warm and cosy. It was a great change not to breath freezing cold air all night. They slept well, except Don’. He was visited with a vivid dream. Figures in a mist forest circle were milling about, as if edgy with each other, and they kept looking about for him as if sensing Don’s presence. When we awoke he was a little disturbed, but it was just one dream.

After Kalista rejoined them from her long bath they discussed their plans. All the fine weapons they’d looted from battles past had to be sold. The money would be helpful even if the food Felk Bay needed was not to be had. They had asked Arthur, the Innkeeper, about the Rhett attack and he had no news of it. Too far north it seems for the news to have travelled.

Aenir and Kellor would pursue weapon and armour smiths to trade the looted items with. They had been in that business in Dwarf Town and Aenir was described as a silver tongue with other merchants, by Kellor, and the older warrior was skilled in crafts able to easily recognise good work versus pretty work.

It was barely decided when the door opened and a quartet of guard stamped into the common room of the Whalers’ Retreat. They rubbed their hands and glanced about settling their sight on the group. Nerves ran high as the guardsmen approached, rattling in their mail with weapons at their hips.

“Well young ones. Where have you come from?” The sergeant started.

The questioning was short. Hard eyes of the sergeant watched them all and relaxed as they answered.

“From the south of the island?” he laughed incredulously.

It was enough for the guards to think the young troop were no threat and they left. Likely back to their warm watch house somewhere near or in the Tovran tower whose heraldry they wore.

With that stress over the party split up to deal with their various needs. New boots, clothing, backpacks, trade-in weapons and armor, and find supplies for Kalista’s spell working. It was a long list and in a new town it might take some time.

Madam Lim’s was the apothecary everyone pointed them to and when they arrived Kalista was so happy to see the variety of materials that she almost cried. Lim had everything, from canis root, to fulgurites, to quartz, to mummified donkey hoof. It was amazing.

Whilst Kalista rummaged the store and looked at every last thing in case it was what she might need the others, mainly Fel, asked Madam Lim about the history of the area. They were richly rewarded. She told them that Vrim, and most of the coast from outside the Saints Valley all the way to the Greywynd River, was awarded to Kentos by the Great Thane Davinus. Kentos later divided his lands and awarded Vrim to a Sipran lord. Many Sealer Nomads chose to live on the land instead of in the fleets and changed their life. A century or two ago the land was divided again with the Tovran being awarded the south of Vrim in murky details, or secrets.

Madam Lim asked the group if they would be willing to collect clams from the Muddy Cape, over the mountains to the north, and they agreed. She said that any pearls she found in the clams she’d give to them on top of a fee. The clam meat being useful in boosting the power of healing potions – which many needed after the attack by the Livruss and Kulvuss fleets.

They met the Dwarves at lunch and the battle-brothers were excited to share they’d found the two armorers in town. One had less stock than the other but rumor had it Cyne, who had more stock than Alfwin, sold cursed weapons. With bellies full of food that wasn’t seal or bear meat they visited Alfwin. It was true. The smith had little stock and nothing they were interested in so it was off to Cyne. A good salesman Cyne traded most of the group’s won prizes for a few hundred gold coins and some other weapons: a long spear of giant bane, a staff of rapid attack, and more.

Lorco was next on their list and with the dwarves they located him easily enough at the Red Stag. Aenir had already come across him that morning. They entered the Red Stag only to have Kellor and Aenir depart to talk to a Margad woman in a bright yellow cloak. She was broad and massive with purple eyes and bright bronze skin. Herath followed looking on with infatuated eyes.

At a small table Lorco pondered a map. His broad hat and long arming sword sat next to it with a tankard of ale. Rough old travelling clothes and fine brigandine armor gave him the look of a well travelled ranger or scout. His long beard and wild hair made him look like a typical travelling wizard.

“What do you know of vampires?” Felghanis opened.

Queen Marcelline was Lorco’s target. He claimed to have killed 6 vampires before and aimed to make her the 7th. Lorco said she was turned away from her fief, banished, by St. Fergus in the early part of the church’s ascension to power. That was some 400 years ago. Felghanis swooned over the knowledge a creature like Marcelline might possess.

“Don’t worry about him,” Don’ said.

Fel huffed and stood up. Leaving without a word. Kalista and Don’ were surprised. Not understanding but Lorco was here now and they kept talking to him. Highgate Monastery and a large fort on the edge of the marches were the two locations Lorco suspected she was holed up in.

“Experimenting on creatures,” he said.

“Like otyughs?”

“Yes. She seems to do this everywhere she goes, experimenting.”

They talked at length and decided when the group was ready Lorco would be accompanied to investigate Highgate Monastery. Lorco had Daldra on retainer for the expedition so he’d have a potentially strong mercenary at his side. It was agreed that they’d leave in 2 days and the group would part ways once Lorco had enough information to determine if Queen Marcelline was in the old monastery – the group heading on to the Muddy Cape to clam for Madam Lim.

Don’ chased after Fel and caught him in the street. Heated words were thrown about and a threat from Fel had Don’s back up. They parted company.

Felghanis walked the streets then decided to find the chapel that Frellan had said the Scours were using as a base in Vrim. As Felghanis got closer to the area known as Manduran’s Hill he could see that the chapel was being rebuilt. A snowball crunched at Fel’s feet and he glanced about for who threw the thing. From around a wall the hard weathered face of Fenris beckoned him with a hand. Too curious to refuse Fel’ approached and Fenris spoke in a rushed whisper.

“I know you’re not following me so you’re safe. Jonas is inside. Consider this an apology.” Fenris looked like he was physically making himself stay, against some compulsion. “There’s more going on here than you can know. I don’t know what it is, yet, but it’s more than the Church and these books.”

Felghanis nodded then said quickly, “Next time you need something send a message.”

Fenris managed a thin smile, “I’ll try.”

Whatever force was compelling the traitor, the Night Wolf, it won and Fenris trotted away nearly silent. But what brought a look of shock to Felghanis’ face was the man’s feet never broke the surface of the snow.

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