| Transcript, Madroc And Modroc, Conversation #1|
Account transcribed from notes and spell record of conversation “overheard” at the Tall Tale inn. I have taken the liberty of editing to remove certain unnecessary content, and to make the conversation more readable. I await your instructions or questions, sir.|
"...event, it's late and now that everyone's gone to their beds, we should clean up and ready the foodstuffs for tomorrow's breakfast."
"Don't change the subject, Modroc. That little blighter's gone and put his foot in it and no mistake. Grace o' the gods, if he ever makes his way back here, he'll be eaten alive." [Sounds of paper rustling or crinkling.]
"Blood and fire, Maddy, keep yer voice down. And stop waving that letter about and put it away. That thing's enough to get us et right alongside him. If there's two things Valkith ain't ever short on, it's eyes and ears. [Sounds of paper rustling, then a pause.] Much as I hate to say it, though, ye're right. I don't know how he managed it, but the lad's gotten himself into some serious trouble."
"Yar. And we need to find a way to help him out. He's a good little fellow, he don't go looking for trouble. I still kinda feel responsible for him."
"I know you do, we both do. But we can't do much for him right now, especially while he's off vagabonding about. Less still if we get wrapped up in things and hauled off to the cookin' pot ourselves."
"I hate it when yer arguments against helping someone make sense."
"So do I."
"How in halitosis did he end up finding one o' those ridiculous swords, anyhow? Ain't heard tell of any o' them in these parts since the war. It's a good thing Valkith's dead and gone, rest his soul; if he'd known one of them was so nearby...."
"Will you keep yer damn voice down? [Long pause.] 'Sides, you know that the stories about those things and Valkith were exaggerated. Not that he still wouldn't be mad as a bull to know it was close by. Things of...hers, never did sit well with him."
"That's putting it mildly. Guess all we can do is hope that rough halfsie friend o' his knows how to use it."
"Most like that's all we can really do. Still, she sounds okay, good in a scrape, and if not long on cunning, at least they have an understanding. And the lad's bright, he'll have figured out its other uses."
"Which brings me back to something I've been wondering--"
"Oh, come on, not this again. Even if ye're right, it don't bear thinking about. We don't have the clout to change something like that."
"Bears thinking about if it involves a friend, and the two of us by extension. I tell you, it made no sense sending him out to Azhgrott."
"Maddy, we've been over this before--"
"No, you've just dismissed it before. There was no reason for him to go to Azhgrott. He's a good lad, but he ain't exactly handy in a mine, or good at cowing the grunts. And you don't send out the bloke ye've got teaching yer other translators."
"That's rot. Any number o' reasons they might've sent him. Maybe they didn't have time to finish training the other translators. Maybe they wanted a kobold to make it easier on the other scalers out there."
"And rot to you, says I. You don't send out yer teacher. Plus, despite yer quip earlier, Valkith ain't been short on folk capable of two or three tongues. Not for years."
"Lad've might've had a special combination they nee--"
"Bah. How many scalers we met who haven't spoken the trade speech? Six? Eight? I doubt they even needed someone for translating at all. Not this late in the game. Better to send a negotiator-type, or better still, a fast-talking merchant."
"You'll drive yer brother to drink with this talk, Maddy, and drive him faster at this volume. Give over. I'm worried about him, too, but throwing this talk of secret plans, conspiracy, into the mix ain't doing nothing to help."
"Look, I'm sorry if I'm hot over this, but it simply goes against all good sense, and even bureaucratic bad sense, and I'm not shutting up about it until you admit that the whole thing was fishy."
"Fine! All right, yes, it was fishy. He did seem an odd choice for that assignment, but it weren't strange enough to cause comment. There, happy now? Does it get us any closer to helping him?"
"Well, I been giving some thought to why he was passed over for the battle-magic battalion--"
"Blood and fire, ye're just walking right off the wrong end o' the pier, ain'tcha?"
"I'm serious, Modsy. Lad taught himself. I mean he weren't doing much, but doing anything at all with that stuff on yer own lights ain't Common."
"That don't mean anything. 'Specially not to the types doing the scouting. They want what they want, and the little blighter weren't it."
"Say what you want, and I'll drop it after this bit, but it don't change things: Valkith ain't Sellador with its holy men oozing out o' the ground, and it sure ain't Elven lands with magic as like to smack you in the face as it goes whizzing by. There ain't so many o' them types here that the scouters can afford to ignore someone who taught himself."
"Just so long as you drop it, all right? Ye're giving me a headache with that talk."
"Yar, I'm done. Meantime, what can we actually do for the little scaler?"
"Probably nothing, 'specially if what we've heard about Azhgrott and its leadership are true."
"That 'Overseer' person--"
"And the company he keeps."
[An audible sigh.] "Yar, there's the real worry. What some outpost mine overseer is doing with a 'friend' like that, I don't ken at all. And that puts some fear into me."
"May be time to call in a few small favors, find out more about him, and his pal. We gotta be careful on this, though. 'Fishy' was a good word, Maddy, because something smells around all this. I can't put my finger on what, but it smells, just the same."
"Yar. Seems to me it's bad as a wharf."
"Not yet. Things're too slow, and small, and subtle-like, for them to smell much. But it's there."
"Wish we could just arrange to send the lad offta. 'Prentice him to a dwarf 'chanter in Citadel, maybe--"
"Eh, even if we could get him to Citadel, the longbeards don't have much love for scalers."
"Let him wander Lochlainn, then."
"Lochlainn? Ye're kidding or sotted. Last I heard, the McKraes were still lurking about, and he don't need no part o' that. And who would we send him to?"
"Could go to what's-her-name. She'd take him."
"Sure, if she's still about. Would even honestly mean well by it, too. But I guarantee you the only thing good intentions ever won the Crazed Queen o' Barfights is bruises, broken bones, and regrets."
"Yar. That gonna help the boy, yer think?"
[Long pause. Sounds of soft shuffling heard.]
"I spose ye're right."
"Blighter's just gonna have to look after himself for awhile, strange circumstances or no. He's got a good head on his shoulders, and he's not alone."
"Yar. He'll be okay, I guess. Just wish I didn't sound so much like I was trying to convince meself."
"Meantime, we'll do what we do, and find out what's what with him, and help ourselves a bit on that score, to boot."
"And maybe figure out what or who got him sent to Azhgrott!"
"Grace 'o the gods, just shut up. C'mon, let's finish the cleaning."
|Associated Regions: Valkith|
|From the journal of Nibar The Nervous|
Contributor: Chris Schuettpelz