As we approached the gates of Cauldron, I had some anxiety. We had left without seeing the Jasidian temple or hearing any reaction from the Hearld. Now that a few days had passed, what was the mood of the city?
It was mostly an uneventful journey from Kingfisher Hollow to Cauldron. Except that at one point, when we were almost to Cauldron, the earth gave a sudden heave and several of us were knocked off our feet.
We quickly looked around. What spell was this? We kept still and silent in anticipation of attack. Acgar tried to detect magic, but there was none she could discern. After a few more minutes of caution, we continued on the journey.
As we got closer to the city, we could see the gates and the symbol of Cauldron, the eye wreathed in flame. After all we”ve learned, that symbol gives me chills. Ian cocked his head at the guards on the gate. “Are they always there? I don”t remember…” Sadi answered, “This is something new. The one with the spear, he”s kind of beefy. But that other one — caster maybe. He”s pretty puny and I don”t see any ranged weapon.”
“Makes sense,” Myntilly weighed in. “You want a caster. Not a sorcerer, though — he”s wearing armor. Or at least it looks like armor from here. Now that would be an interesting gambit. Maybe we can try something like that one of these days. See if Skye has any sort of armor that looks like plate but is really cloth.”
I thought we looked a bit motley. Me and Myntilly in front, Ian, brus and Sadi with her camel, Obi. Then Acgar with frog and mount.
We were road weary and bone weary from our time in Kingfisher Hollow. I had a big bruise on my thigh from falling on my mace when the ground tossed us up in the air. I wanted a soak at Orak”s, a hot meal and quiet contemplation in the solar at temple. What I got was all together different.
We realized that Skylar Krewis was standing to one side with a robed man. When they saw us, Skylar hurried over. “Please come to the barracks right away! Captain Quinlan would like to see you.” Myntilly gave him a bright smile. “It”s good to see you again Seargent Krewis. I”m sure this can wait until tomorrow. We are road weary.” She started to go past him. The robed man moved to block her way. Sadi snorted. “You are with the MTA, I see.” The man nodded but did not speak. “We pulled your nuts out of the fire, literally when the umber hulk attacked your warehouse district.”
I stepped up. “I see that you are a man of Kord. Blessed be the Brawler and all who follow his path.” I bowed low. Sadi followed my lead and as she bent, she whispered to me “I could”ve taken him.”
Acgar moved forward. “I for one, would like to report our findings to Quinlan. Let”s go.”
Quinlan was in the conference room when we arrived. “We have a situation,” he said. “Ike Iverson was found dead outside Garthun Imports two nights ago.” This news was met with silence. After a moment, I cleared my throat. “Quinlan, we”ve just come from Kingfisher Hollow. Two nights ago we –” He waved his hand at me. “I know where you”ve been. Please. Do you think I”ve kept this position by not knowing important things? Ponus! Ponus!”
Before anyone could ask what he meant, a tall thin man walked in with a sheaf of papers. Quinlan gestured towards us. “Ponus, Divas. Divas, Ponus.” Acgar stood up and bowed. “I have had the pleasure of working with Dr. Ponus.” The man started a bit at Acgar”s words. “Yes,” he said quietly, as if to himself. “The dragon. I remember.”
“I did the usual speak with dead spell on Mr. Iverson. He was struck from behind, unfortunately. When I asked him why he was killed, he did have an intriguing answer. He said “Failed to do my job.”” He spread out some photographs. “Here are some closeups of the head wound.” Acgar looked at them eagarly. “This looks just like the wound on Todd Vanderbourne”s head. He was killed by finger of death.” Dr. Ponus rubbed his pointed chin. “Finger of death, hmmm? It is consistent with the burn marks….”
“Speaking of the Vanderbournes,” Quinlan broke in. “They really want to see you before you head to Sasserene.” I cocked my head. “How did you know we were going to Sasserene?”
“Pfff. It”s my job to know things, right? So stop by and see them. They want to thank you for returning Todd”s body.” He stood up. “I”m glad you stopped by to talk with me. Now off you go.” He made pushing motions with his hands.
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