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Farewell My Lovely

I received a /tell to go to the eastern outpost of Rithwic. It had once been a charming little suburb, the kind of place patron's took their vassals for a picnic, now it was the kind of place decent people avoided. Which did not keep me from going, of course.

I was let into a small shop. The woman I was supposed to meet had a room on the top floor. The walls were full of cheap merchandise, a dime store for a nickel and dime town. The shopkeeper and I eyed each other as I went up the stairs. I might get a dagger in my back,
but it would be a cheap one that wouldn't hurt much.

Mindorla greeted me all business. She asked if I had any rat tails or wasp wings. I knew there were people into that sort of stuff. I don't judge. I just drink. When I told her I was here for other business her mood changed.

"Can you take a message to Celcynd in Rithwic," she asked, "he will pay you for it."

We talked a little about the price. 2500xp, 200 pyreals, and 2 healing potions. That was a lot for a job as simple as a stroll into town. It was not a high price if you never expected to pay it. But there were no other clients knocking on my door and I needed xp. I took the job and the note, but I felt like a sap.

She didn't say anything more. Nothing about her relationship with Celcynd or the contents of the note. I didn't bother pressing. The note would tell me more then she would. I opened the note as soon as I was out the door.

"My dear Celcynd, maybe you're right and we should talk somemore. I am sending you this letter in the hopes that perhaps we can let go fo the follies of the past and start anew. Of course, it will be hard for me to forgive you, but I am sure that something can be worked out."

It didn't sound bad. But then such notes seldom do. Follies of the past might mean anything, I knew some people who talked about death as "going to Camelot." People seldom say what they mean if it sounds ugly. And I had a feeling this was going to get ugly.

I made my way back to town and looked for the town crier. They usually talk a lot and can spill some useful scoop. This one talked alright, but he was obsessed with his own problems - just kept repeating the same things over and over. There was a bar near by. I went in for a drink and some gossip. The bartender was selling gossip, but nothing I wanted to hear.

I made my way back through town talking to some others. I got a tip that Celcynd wasn't from these parts. He had moved here from Holtburg after a bit of unpleasantness there. Maybe the "follies of the past"? I found another bar and asked about Celcynd. The bartender nodded and pointed towards a man in the back wearing all green. It was Celcynd.

I didn't know him and he didn't know me from Cragstone, so I decided to chat a bit and see what he would say. He was recruiting for something, gave me a song and dance and then some books. I didn't make a donation.

The books made it clear that Celcynd was part of some secret society operating in several towns. While they seemed to be just about everywhere I decided to try my luck in Holtburg. Maybe someone there would know a bit more about his past.

Holtburg was a ways from Rithwic, and it could cost me a lot of shoe leather if I ran. I hopped the portal outside of town and got their the fast way. Fortunately the book Celcynd had given to me told me who I was looking for, Flinrala Ryndmad. They were in
the bar. I was starting to think their outfit might be worth joining, I could find a nice quiet bar somewhere to spend my days. But I don’t look so good in green, but then again neither did they.

“Celcynd, what do you know about the man?” I asked. Flinrala looked genuinely surprised. I was startled, I hadn’t seen anyone act genuinely in ages.

“If you want to know about Celcynd, go to the Old Redoubt. You needn’t go in, the sign will tell you all you need to know.”

I hadn’t really expected anyone in the society to spill the beans. A nod in the right direction should be enough for a good detective. Now I just had to find a good detective.

The Old Redoubt was south. There were a lot of thugs along the way. I eyed them, they eyed me, but nothing turned ugly. I noticed a banderling and a creepy mosswart were in green, maybe a connection to the society. I couldn’t miss the place, even with the luck
I’d been having. There was a set of candles blazing away beside the marker.

“In the 6th year of our freedom from the Olthoi, the people of Holtburg were beseiged and slaughtered here by Tumeroks. Only the children were spared, thanks to the heroism of the mage Celcynd. This eternal flame burns in their memory, and their mortal remains have been left interred here in tribute. Disturb not their rest.”

A hero, Celcynd? It didn’t all fit together. I would have to go back to Rithwic and poke around some more.

When you want to know about mages, talk to mage. When that fails, talk to scribes, they all like to read scrolls. And Wyrelda the scribe in Rithwic had some information.

“Celcynd the Dour, mage of Rithwic. Ah, the poor soul. A brilliant mage in his youth, and apprenticed to the famed Harlune of Arwic. Celcynd was the first to master Empyrean planar magic. It failed him at a critical point, however. When Holtburg was under siege
by Tumeroks, he cast a portal which allowed the children to escape. It consumed so much mana, however, that he was unable to cast a second portal in time to rescue the adults. He sank into his guilt, and even the love of Brentsella was not enough to bring him out
of it for long.”

Brentsella was a new name. When I heard she lived in an outpost I thought it might be a nickname for Mindorla. But Brentsella lived at the south outpost. Celcynd seemed to have a woman in every port. When I spoke with Brentsella she asked me if I had any wasp
wings or drudge charms. Celcynd must have a thing for these collectors. When I mentioned Celcynd she ignored me, just told me about an Old Warehouse she had once kept things in. At first I missed it, but she gave me a look which told me I should check it out further.

The Old Warehouse was between the outpost and Rithwic. I poked around a bit and found two chests, one locked. Now in my business a locked chest usually means somebody has something they don’t want me to see. I also know that people are lazy. There was probably a key lying about that would open the chest. Someplace close. I searched around some more. There were a lot of thugs skulking about that I had to deal with. My knife is faster then their’s. I did take their’s with me. They weren’t much but the expenses were mounting
and my boots were wearing thin from all the running.

At the bottom I found a chest that had a key. It opened the other chest upstairs and I found a note:

“My dear Celcynd, I won't forget the stars over Mt. Esper. I - oh I don't know why I'm writing this. I don't think I will ever send this to you. It will be better for the both of us. But should this letter ever reach you, Celcynd, do not keep the ring. Give it away. Maybe even give it to Mindorla. I don't think I could ever really be that serious.
- Brentsella”

It was clear I was in over my head. I didn’t know whether to envy or admire Celcynd, but the time had come to talk to him. Now I had two notes to deliver to him from two different women.

First I gave him the note from Mindorla. He didn’t seem surprised, or happy. He mumbled a few words to me about a reward and gave me a few pyreals and healing potions. I gave him the note from Brentsella and he mumbled a bit more and gave me a ring.

It was a thin ring, fragile looking. There was an inscription: “To Celcynd. In memory of our time together. -- Brentsella the Collector”

Celcynd made it clear he no longer wanted the ring. It seemed he didn’t want anything to do with either women. He had a drink to try and forget his troubles. But what he drank wasn’t strong enough to make him forget.

Well, I had a client and Brentsella had even suggested giving her the ring, so that is what I set out to do. On the floor of the shop I sold the knives I had collected from the skulkers to Hydeatha. They were cheap and seemed like the sort of merchandise she would carry.

I made my way up the stairs and silently handed Mindorla the Collector Celcynd’s ring.

Mindorla read the inscription and burst into a rage, "Why that ungrateful.” She noticed me standing there and calmed down a little, “er, thank you for bringing this to me. Here is a small reward."

The reward was small. No more then Celcynd had given me. With the sale of the knives I had made a small profit, but not enough to keep me in drinks for long. I have to learn to stay out of domestic disputes.

As I made my way outside I overheard Mindorla asking Hydeatha if she had any knives to sell. I guess Celcynd’s troubles weren’t over. I thought about staying and helping the guy out. But a friend of mine was getting married in Yaraq and I didn’t want to be late. The cove cider and warm apple pie wouldn’t last long among all the guests.

 

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