By Jamey Martin
With the year drawing to a close, both Harmoth and Airovistus decided they were going to hazard a journey back into Cormyr, where they would winter with their kin before returning to Ordulin come spring. Corwin had received more invitations to attend various social functions in Ordulin, including a dinner to mark to official opening of Deneir's Grand Hall of Letters and Learning in Tasseldale, and so decided he would winter in Ordulin. As for Hrek and Hector, they decided that they would return to Hap and, with Salleece's aid, concern themselves with matters there.
Having made it across the Dragon Reach to Calaunt, Tyros quickly made his way to the Orc's Head Tavern, which, in his early days had been run by a "former" thief, now "retired", named Ralluck.
As for Tyros, he would meet up with the others in Hap by the time winter set in, but in the mean time he had it in his head to make a trip back to Calaunt. Once there, he intended to look up some old friends, and maybe settle some old debts.
Now, this Ralluck had a reputation for having a soft spot in his heart for bastards and orphans, and would often take one under his wing, provide the urchin with friends and protection, and teach it how to survive on the merciless streets of Calaunt. Such an urchin had Tyros been. And he had been one of Ralluck's favourites before fate drove them apart.
Once again Tyros enjoyed a happy reunion with a figure from his past, not so happy as with Orgauth, but joyous nevertheless. And not only Ralluck, but also his former best friend Grog. The years had be less kind to Grog than Tyros, and he had grown into a guarded and bitter man of cruel disposition that Ralluck at times employed as a collections agent, but often found to be to ruthless to make much use out of.
At length Ralluck called Tyros out on his reason for the visit, as the lad could hardly have been homesick, and the ex-Zhentilar said that he had come seeking vengeance against the captain that had raped and killed his mother. He then began to question Ralluck in return, and the old thief revealed that the last he had heard said "war-captain" had been busted down to the rank of "block-warden" of the Hole, the ugliest and most dangerous part of Calaunt. With a little more digging and surveillance, it was found that Block-Warden Valek, as was his name, was on the take ... receiving regular payments from the owner of the Thugs Delight, a seedy tavern filled with dangerous criminals, cheap harlots and illicit drugs. And not only did he receive regular payments, he also made regular visits, late at night according to Grog, so as not to be seen by his fellow watchmen, who would, apparently, mock him for his poor tastes.
And so it went that Tyros readied a confrontation between himself and Valek late one night behind the Thug's Delight, only to find himself betray by Grog. Valek mocked at Tyros with a handful of armed and armoured warriors between them, claiming that he didn't even remember the ex-Zhentilar's mothers, and that the whore probably liked it anyway. With that, the battle was joined, and Tyros' mastery of the blade proved to be far greater then the Calauntan watchmen had anticipated. As the last of them fell, Valek fled into the night, but before long Tyros caught up to him. While Valek proved to be no pushover, in the end it was Tyros who won the day.
With his passage out of Calaunt already arranged and close to departure, the ex-Zhentilar stopped to bid Ralluck farewell, telling him to warn Grog of his potential return. From there, he headed for the docks and shipped out before any alarm or such was ever raised. If one was ever raised.
Making his way back to Ordulin, Tyros met with Corwin. The former resident of Arabel congratulated his friend on a successful journey, and told him that, during his own engagement in Tasseldale he had been awarded a voucher for entrance into Candlekeep from Melendilar Huantilar, the High Scrivener of Deneir's Hallowed House of Higher Achievement in Selgaunt!! Thus, he wanted to make a journey out that way come spring and see what he could dig up on either the Survivor States and/or Netheril, as part of his long term goal to lead a expedition into the Great Waste.
And so Tyros carried this information with him to Hap, where he found his comrades settling in and making themselves quite at home. Salleece recognized Mumfrey's authority, but assisted him greatly in planning out the building of a new and greater shrine of Lathander, while Hrek was busying himself with training and equipping a small local militia. Furthermore, he had been speaking with the town Spokesmen, Silas Genk, owner of the Millery Inn, and encouraging him to travel to Essembra and force the War Chancellor of Battledale to either recognize or formally relinquish his obligations to Hap as Lord and Defender of Battledale.
As for Hector, he was filled with dread, for the harvest tide had once again come and gone, and this year he had made no sacrifice of innocence. And no 10,000 gp altar had been erect as per his contract with the Nameless Fiend. Nevertheless, the fall tide had indeed come and gone. And the power of Lathander saturated this area. And here with him was Hrek, Salleece, and now even Tyros. Thus it was that Hector managed to push aside his troubles and find himself a student of the magical arts. Her name was Delleah, and while her only equal in both beauty and intellect was Silas' own daughter Sillania, who was herself off studying magic with the elves of the village of Seven Oaks in Tangled Trees, Delleah was herself of more humble origins and enjoyed no such good fortune. Thus it was that Hector took her on as his student.
In time came the first snows of winter. And while the folk of Hap were not without at least a few pairs of snow shoes, and a couple of dog-sleds, the snows eventually came to make travel at least a bit difficult, to say the least, thus locking the folk of Hap into their own little world for yet another winter.
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