Saturday, September 11th
With our prisoner securely bound, we take care of our wounds and then investigate the house. It turns out to be a well-stocked hideout.
Larryl walks over to the captive and introduces himself. The prisoner’s name is Essafah. Larryl threatens him into admitting that he works for a smuggling organization commissioned by traders. Essafah won’t tell the names of the people he works for, because he wants to use that knowledge to negotiate with the authorities. After Magnys promises to put in a good word for him, he adds that we should go to the Sandpit Inn. This inn, situated in the South-West of Skuld, is frequently visited by shifty individuals who trade in exotic slaves.
We take the prisoner back to the military harbor and turn him over to the guards. They tell us that Mulhorandi warships chased the smuggler boat and hauled it back to shore. We are all escorted to the guardhouse. There we meet commandant Djuhah. We tell the commander the story about the stolen oil casks, the pursuit through the dark, the discovery of the smugglers’ house and the fight. Djuhah listens carefully, sends guards out to investigate the hide-out and then leaves to interrogate Essafah. When the commandant returns, his behavior has changed and he wants to know exactly what happened tonight. After hearing the reports of the guards about the massacre in the hide-out, he’s treating us as suspects! Again we narrate the story and Djuhah leaves the room, locking us in.
Of course he hasn’t taken into account Larryl’s amazing skills! After hearing arguing voices, the curious halfling ghost steps through the door to find uncle Sealamin in a heated discussion with the commandant. Djuhah jumps when he sees Larryl appear suddenly next to him. Sealamin is very upset about finding his niece in custody. ‘This behavior is outrageous,’ he yells, ‘these good people have done nothing but carry out an investigation for our temple! Release them, at once!’ At these words, the commander finally is convinced of the good intentions of our party and, offering excuses, he quickly opens the door. After this nightly escapade, we gladly take our leave and return to the Golden Bracer by carriage. A quick wash up and then to bed!
These nocturnal activities have taken their toll and we all wake up late – in fact too late for breakfast! But our good landlord has some snacks and fruit to still the hunger until lunch. Magnys decides to visit her parents, while the others check out the town. Somewhat later our paladin knocks on the door of the house where she grew up, hope alight in her eyes. When the door opens, she sees her mother standing in the doorway. ‘Hello Mom,’ she says, barely able to contain her excitement, and takes a big step forward, ‘it’s been such a long while…’ Her voice trails away at the blank look on the other’s face. Her mother barely seems to recognize her own daughter.
‘Yes it’s really me! How are you doing? Are you alright? Where’s Dad? And where are the boys?’
The time on the road seems to disappear in an instant and for a moment she’s sixteen again – eager for attention from parents who never seemed to do anything but work.
‘Can I come in Mom?”
Slowly the woman regains her composure and opens the door to let her daughter in. The house is much smaller than Magnys remembers and she follows her mother into the living room. The table is covered with papers and piles of books. Soon they’re sitting down with a cool glass of juice.
‘Still working as hard as ever Mom?’
‘Aye, and I need to finish this by tonight when Dad comes home. ‘
The sparkle in Magnys’ eyes disappears at hearing the familiar response. Always work, work, work.
‘I haven’t seen you for fifteen years Mom, FIFTEEN years, and you’re telling me you have to finish the job?? Seems nothing has changed here!’
Her voice falters on the verge of breaking, but then she straightens her shoulders. She was a fool to believe things would be different. A childhood of neglect has hardened her into the strong woman she is now.
‘Lets go and do something together Mom, just the two of us. Just this once forget about your duty and come with me to the market. For old times’ sake. A bit of family quality time?’
To her surprise, her mother agrees and for a few hours Magnys can almost imagine she’s just like other daughters with their mothers roaming the market. Almost…