10th day of the 3rd ride, month 6 , 1262
When the arrogant Dærlan noble-lady commanded us to vacate the reading-room, the men looked to me to take the lead. I saw no reason to start any trouble. We gathered our materials and headed elsewhere. There was some uncomfortable banter, and James sought to provoke the guards through blatant intimidation and insolence. They were either utterly unimpressed or too disciplined to take the bait. Either way, we departed without incident.
We settled for a much smaller reading-room. We ran into Falka on our way over and she had some news for us. For one, she found a map of the village and the surroundings where Lord Destan had been rumored to have been seen last. The other news was that she had received a letter from the older Lord John that she was to not help the people claiming to help Lord Destan.
in other words: Don’t help our merry band of adventurers.
The letter seemed perfectly legitimate, which made everything rather uncomfortable. We decided upon a compromise, where she would no longer be actively involved in our researches but would still be available for some queries.
In that light I asked Falka to have a look at the queer golden coins we had recovered from the tunnels at the Sheridan Estate. She did not recognize them to be coins that might have been in circulation in any epoch of human history. They were not from the Verdant Kingdoms.
To inquire further about the coins I suggested that we visit the auction-house once more. James, Emrys, and I set out. We were welcomed in friendship and there was no hint that Willem had been contacted by Lord John in the same manner as Falka had been. Such had been James’ assumption.
We inquired about the leathers that had been sold and were allowed to examine them. We found them intriguing, especially since they seem to have been crafted from the same source-animal as the peculiar ones the gnomish rats had been wearing. The main difference was that these were crafted far more delicately and carefully. Willem was unable to tell us what the source-animal might have been.
We also showed him the coins, but was unable to tell us where they hail from either. He did say that he had met a sorcerous character not too long ago who had accidently tried to settle his accounts with some coins of similar ilk. The sorcerous character had ominously suggested that these coins were ‘not of this world.’
Finally we inquired what was up for the block today. Willem told us about a collection of fine paintings but that the star lot of the night was expected to be a bejeweled pendant. We asked him if we would be allowed to see the pendant and he happily obliged. The pendant held a Lyrium Crystal. Upon learning this we decided that we would join the auction that evening. Willem was delighted to have us.
We spent the rest of the afternoon preparing for that evening, while we let Luca continue undisturbed. After dinner James and I headed back to the auction-house. Emrys decided to visit the Golden Cockatrice. We asked Astrid to keep an eye on Luca, and to make sure he would eat a little something.
I wasn’t fully comfortable at the auction. Far too wealthy and presumptuous a crowd for my taste, but I lingered around the lots keeping an eye and ear open for whatever would come up. The people were clearly engaged in some sort of social game of cat and mouse to gauge each other intentions. Almost a ritual one might argue. I wasn’t too well at home in this particular ritual, but at least my demeanor wasn’t too conspicuous either.
James was much more at home in this environment, and this was all for the better, since he was able to procure good information. He talked to a group of dwarves and a group of elves in turn. Each of the groups hailed from native lands, and each was there for one lot in particular: the pendant with the Lyrium Crystal. James discovered that the Elder Races realize that a new Age of Fear will be upon us soon, and that they intend to hide from its onslaught as they did the previous time.
This will not improve their standing in the eyes of humans. Emrys and James will likely suffer even more from the callousness of the Elder Races.
We partook in the auction and made a bid for the pendant. The excitement of an auction is quite something to behold and contagious, so I begged Sedna to calm the spirits in the room during our lot, but to no avail. Admittedly, I had been infected as much as anyone there. We failed to procure the pedant, but left with our gold supply intact. The dwarves picked up the pendant for one-thousand-and-six-hundred crowns.
We returned to the inn to rest. There we caught up with Astrid and Luca. Luca was in a foul mood when he heard about our endeavors. It was a bit unfair if you ask me. We left him to his own devices at his express wishes, and then he faults us for not including him in the proceedings of the evening. His also made his attack against me rather personal, after I had opened up to him. That was unnecessarily hurtful.
There is a light inside that boy that is kind and helpful. But there is a darkness in there to, that is bitter and hard and unforgiving. I pray we can keep him in the light.