Book Two: The Lone and Level Land
CHAPTER ONE:
Janarl in Cauldron

Berrona Umberselunday

Arek and Thallazar went off to dispose of the trophies of our battles. Pelu was almost happy that his burden was now gone. Thallazzar returned like the first day of Spring wearing new clothes, smelling of flowers and smiling like child. He had a bag of gold and gems and handed them out to each of the Companions. Such wealth! I have seen gold coins and even lusterous jewelry after harvests and selling sh’ematta to trading caravans but never in this quantity.

Arek returned returned, smiled and gave me another bag the size of a pumpkin. I looked at it and him and he said, “Cauldron is certainly a place of strange sites and sounds for you. This money can help you to get things that will promote our Quest. I cannot go with you for I have commitments for myself alone. However, remember that a price is the start of a negotiation. Bargain for all you need because next we go under the Wall and aid will become scarce.”

I took my bag and left for the market. I wandered for an hour and found various items that I knew I needed such as thunderstones and smokesticks from Ali’s Adventurer’s Backpack. Feeling confident, I was able to find magnificant armor newly manufactured at Sheffield Brother’s Armoury. The captain of a mercenary squad of archers had commissioned this armour but was killed before completion in a bar fight. While drinking tea with the brothers, Master Guy Sheffield mentioned the quality of my bow and remarked that his cousin Rene Gaultier had the finest bows in Cauldron.

He walked with me personally as my guide to this master fletcher called the Phoenix Feather. While my people make fine bows for hunting and defence, few in the entire Enclave could approach anything in Master Gaultier’s armoury. Him and I had tea in a quiet and simple room overlooking the market square for an hour and we talked of my life and adventures. Without a word about bows or my needs, he raised his hand and two young boys brought in fine wooden boxes. Master Gaultier would open one, hand me a mastercraft bow and would describe it. They were all so wonderful! We must have discussed dozens of them and I knew he was measuring me for price. He went over to one of the boys and said a word and he scuttled off. The boy returned with a black box that he placed on the mahogany table. Master Gaultier opened the box and handed me a startlingly beautiful bow of black and tan wood. As I held and admired it he spoke: “That is the Scorpion’s Tail, Master Janarl. I did not make it in my workshop. I bought it from an adventurer recently returned from beyond the Wasted Sea, beyond the Sea of the Serpent Men. A strange land north of the Atamara Desert. This human did not speak much or give his name. However, he had a few items of great value and wanted platinum. He called this bow the Scorpion’s Tail for obvious reasons. I do not recognize the maker but his sense of style is amazing. Beautiful woods combined perfectly to create a powerful weapon. The draw is a bit heavy but for you it should be just right. I think it is for you. Come with me outside.” We went downstairs and he insisted that I shoot a quiver of arrows on a range he had in his courtyard. He spoke of how some master archers fired and stood while I fired.

The hour was late and so I asked about price for this outstanding object. He saw that I was an honest hunter of the T’Kel and clearly on a mission of some impact. We quickly came to a price that remained in my bag. He then offtered to take my T’kel bow as part of the exchange. He had never seen one such as t and wanted it for his collection. I agreed and took possession of it and a quiver of fine arrows. Pulling my cloak around myself, I returned to my Companions.

Next!
Thalazzar's Revelations

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