Company of the Copper Card - Practical Magic Session One Part 2

Constable Truesil exited the Grand Room and the inn. The dwarves and Fred returned to the common room directly after. I had returned to our table and gotten another ale. Then I wrote up the notes about the Company of the Copper Card. The others joined me.

“Would anybody like another ale this evening?” Hari said as he came over.

The dwarves both ordered ale and he soon returned to them.

“Thank you, Bartleby, that was a great story this evening,” he said to me. “And great news from the far lands to our west.”

I nodded and smiled.

“Yes, it’s always a pleasure to stay here, Hari,” I said.

He went back to the bar. Groth looked at me.

“Are you up to no good, Bartleby?” he said. “Why are you avoiding the constable?”

“What?” I said. “I’m not avoiding the constable. But she obviously wanted to talk to an adventuring party.”

I gestured at those seated at the table.

“You’re the Company of the Copper Card,” I said.

“I see. I see,” he said. “I just … I just … I wasn’t sure. She was a little …”

“Am I up to no good!?!”

“Well, she thought you were with us and so …”

“Well, we were traveling together. But I’m not a part of your company. I assume you have a contract of some kind. Or an agreement. Or an arrangement of some kind. I just met you and I wouldn’t presume to assume that I was part of your company.”

“I see. I see. Well, like we discussed prior, when we filled you in with more information … obviously you know many things and knowledge is powerful. So … we may like to have you around to figure things out. I’m not sure how competent you are in combat, but‒”

“Oh, I’m not.”

He smiled.

“I see,” he said.

“I do know how to use a rapier, but I don’t own one,” I said.

“Sure. Um … I know some bards can cast spells. Are you able to cast spells at all?”

“My spells are mostly benign spells.”

“I remember you doing the prestidigitation.”


“I can read magic and detect it. Nothing very powerful.”

“Well, we have decided to take the constable up on a proposition and … you may be useful because we need information … there’s an important missing person that we are going to try to find. If you would like to help us with that, there would be … you could earn about a thousand gold pieces from the city‒”


“‒if we can find that person.”

“That’s a great deal of money.”

“So …”

“What about those rubies that you – that we found. We found.”

“Oh yeah, from Miss Freemidden, right?”

“Freemidden. Rest in peace. Bless her soul. Perhaps we could split those up.”

“What, there were four of us there?”

“Yes. I’ll take the smallest. I’m not greedy.”

Groth looked at Alexiah and Turk and shrugged. Alexiah nodded.

“Turk?” Groth said.

“I mean … um … do we have to split the rubies up?” Turk said. “I mean …”

“I mean, it’s just money,” Groth said. “If he wants the smallest one.”

“Yes, that’s fine,” I said. “That’s fine. I did very little. If you don’t want to share with me, I understand.”

“No no no,” Groth said. “I’m not saying that.”

“I believe you should be compensated,” Turk said.

“Well …” I said.

“How about we just get them appraised and we can compensate you justly?” Turk said.

Groth reached into his magical bag.

“Well, gold is so much heavier than a ruby,” I said.

“No, I understand that,” Turk said.

“I could … I could attempt to determine their worth,” I said. “I’m not very good at it but I have done it before.”

“Fred is typically our go-to in such things,” Groth said.

“Oh, very well,” I said. “But again, the smallest is just fine.”

Groth gave the rubies to Fred.

“Turk, could you get me another ale from the barkeep?” he said.

“Sure,” Turk said. “I see no harm in that.”

He got up and went to the bar.

“Just figure out the smallest one and give it to him now,” Groth said to Fred. “Obviously Turk is under the influence of something right now.”

“What?” I said.

Groth downed his ale. Fred said one of the gems was worth 25 gold pieces, one was worth 50 gold pieces, one was worth 100 gold pieces, and one was worth 500 gold pieces. He handed me the smallest of them and I put it in my pouch with my coins.

“Thank you,” I said. “And if you don’t have any further use for the spell book once you look over it, I wouldn’t mind having it back. It belonged to a friend of mine. I might donate it to the Bardschool in Greyhawk.”

Groth took the rest of the rubies back and tucked them away. Turk returned with his mug of ale.

“I’d be glad to accompany you and document what happens,” I said. “I don’t think I’d be very useful if combat were to break out. There is the Academy of Sorcery here in Dyvers as well that might be useful finding out a way to get to the City of Brass, where you want to go.”

“I see,” Groth said.

“They might know where there’s a gate.”

“I see.”

“Or not. You might have to go to Greyhawk to the Guild of Wizardry. It is, of course, much larger than the Academy of Sorcery here. It probably has more information: much more.”

“Yes. It’s probably late to go around town tonight to find answers to our questions.”

“Oh yes yes. But of course you have a wizard.”

“Fred, if you still want to identify those items, I can get them for you and meet you in your room later.”

“You have a wizard, too, who might be able to help you at the Academy.”

I gestured towards Fred and turned to the gnome.

“So, Fred, tell me about yourself,” I said.

“I’m just trying to find a place for myself,” Fred said.

“Yes, but where were you born? Where are you from?”

“Oh. I was orphaned very young.”


“On the streets of Greyhawk.”

“You’re from Greyhawk? I’m from Greyhawk!”

“But … yeah. I had to learn to survive on my own.”

“Oh no!”

“From the age of seven.”

“What quarter?”

“The River Quarter.”

“Oh no! When was this? How old are you? Do you mind me asking? Some people take offense.”

“No. I’m 35.”

“Oh, you’re only a little older than I am. Our paths might have crossed in Greyhawk. I went to the Bardschool and to Grey University … 10 years ago. Where you ever there, at either one?”

“No, not there.”

“The Wizard’s Guild?”

“It wasn’t quite the Wizard’s Guild, no.”

“Oh. Interesting. Interesting.”

“Of my past that I’ve turned from, I got my tutelage under … a wizard of the Thieves’ Guild.”

“Were you part of the Thieves’ guild? You know, rumor has it‒”

“Against my will. I was enslaved by the Thieves’ Guild.”

“Oh no. Rumor has it that the mayor of Greyhawk, Nerof Gasgol is in the Thieves’ Guild.”

“Oh, he may be. I escaped from them.”

“My mother is a distant relative of his, or so she says. I don’t know the truth of it. I’ve never delved into that. She’s … she’s a quiet woman.”

“But I am more of an arcane trickster by trade.”

“Oh! What is that?”

“It allows me to merge roguish and wizard magic together.”

“Oh! That’s interesting.”

“I can pick locks from a distance.”

“With a spell? Or just naturally?”


“That’s amazing!”

“With a spell.”

Turk raised an eyebrow at the arcane trickster comment.

“And what about you?” I said to the dwarves. “Groth and Turk. Where are you from?”

“Um …” Groth said. “Well, we … used to live in a settlement called Deepstone.”

“Oh, where’s that?”

“It is … well, it’s in the territory of Iuz now. They invaded and ran us out.”

“Oh no!”

“We grew up in a small dwarven community named Deepstone. We were very – it was very religious. Three times a week, we served Clangeddin. Several years ago, Iuz invaded us and we were forced out. Very few of us lived. My brother and I returned.”

“Wait, you said it was small?”

“Yeah, I guess. We returned but found dozens of dwarves slaughtered inside. So, we went to the country of Geoff after we heard of the giant’s invasion and we tried to assist there after we found nothing left of value left within our settlement. Turk and I returned because we were looking for heirlooms of our grandfather. There were highly prized possessions throughout Deepstone and those went missing as well. We’re trying to find if we can find any pieces of our grandfather’s heirlooms, if Iuz took them, if they kept them in their territory, I’m not sure. Eventually, we’re trying to make our way to take it back and kind of get a foothold into the territory of Iuz to try to keep them from pushing any further into the Flanaess. He came through the southern Wolf Nomads.”

As he spoke, I remembered him giving away his name the day before: Groth Stoutbrew. I had heard of the Stoutbrews of Deepstone. I heard people were looking for them. I had heard a priest of Fharlanghn had come to Greyhawk with some kind of relic. I had heard the Stoutbrews had met him east of Greyhawk somewhere in the Duchy of Urnst. They had met with an orc warlord there. The people looking for the Stoutbrews were more powerful than the orc warlord who had nearly slaughtered the entirety of the Company of the Copper Card.

“Where was this?” I asked. “If you don’t mind me asking? Could there still be some of your comrades alive? Enslaved perhaps?”

“This was years ago,” Groth said.

“Well, dwarves live along time.”


“And slaves are usually worked to death or worked for the rest of their lives. Have you consulted – have you tried to talk to the tribes of the Wolf Nomads? They take exception to invasions of their territory.”

“No. No, we have not.”

“Something to consider if … you said you were hoping to take it back someday.”

“Right, we’ve also had some companions that we traveled with in the past who have gone about the world to try to find people that want to help us take it back because we‒”


“Well, there was a fellow, he went by Panhandle Puck, and we had a rather strange companion, he went by Ox.”

That reminded me of a dwarf I’d met named Ox who had golden eyes.

“Oh wait!” I said. “I believe I met him! I talked to him. He was very friendly. He seemed like the nicest dwarf I’ve ever met. Very talkative. A bit of a chatterbox, actually. But he was very pleasant to talk to.”

“Yeah, he is a goblin,” Groth said. “He has a hat of disguise to make him look like a dwarf.”

“But he had a holy symbol. Was that fake?”

“Yeah, somehow, Clangeddin … imbued him with his power, to be a cleric of him. I still don’t understand that.”

I grilled Groth about this goblin who became a priest of Clangeddin Silverbeard. He told me of the goblin’s joining the party after Falstaff charmed him with a spell that he continually refreshed until the goblin’s entire viewpoint of the world changed. The goblin traveled with the Company of the Copper Card for months of their adventures in Keoland, Nyrond, the Urnst States, and even the City of Greyhawk before they parted company, apparently.

“I’m still able to contact my god for a divination spell,” Groth said. “I thought about using it for the weapon we had discussed prior, but with this new development, maybe I should use it for the constable’s request. So, if any of you have a good question you think I should ask?”

I asked what the constable wanted and Groth told me what Constable Truesil had related to him. I had passed Eloranta Naslun on the stairs in that very inn. She had been there many times when I told stories as well. I thought she lived there and related that to them.

“Maybe we ought to talk to Hari and see if we can look at her room tonight,” Groth said. “And then maybe we can get some more information from that before asking a question.”

“I was going to suggest that, yeah,” Turk said.

“Well, I think you should also ask about gates to the plane of fire,” I said.

“I can only ask one question with this spell,” Groth said.

“Hm. Could you ask where she is?”

“That’s what I’m saying. We could do that or could go look in her room and maybe get more information that helps us dictate, maybe, a better question to ask.”

“I’ll come with you. Someone needs to document this.”

Groth motioned for Hari to come over.

“I believe one of you lost your room key,” Hari said. “The constable let me know.”

“I see,” Groth said.

He slid it to Groth, who picked it up.

“Thank you, Hari,” I said.

I finished my ale and headed up the stairs with the rest. We went to room 307. As Groth took out the key, Fred went to the lock and examined it carefully. Groth cast a spell to detect magic and nodded as if it were safe. Fred noted it was not trapped and Groth unlocked the door.

We all entered the chamber. The room held a bed, a desk, a dressing table, and a single window overlooking an alleyway behind the building. There were no signs of a struggle and we searched the room. Fred carefully searched as if he’d done it before. He checked everyplace, carefully putting things back exactly where he’d found them.

On the floor under the window, he found a small brass key with a shell-shaped rune etched upon it and the number 307. It was her key to the room. It matched the key Hari had given Groth. I guessed it was her key. She hadn’t left with her key. Under the bed, Fred found a silver button with slivers of jade used for a cloak pin or as an identifying pin. It didn’t match any of the clothing in the room. He found nothing else in the room.

I picked up the comb on the dressing table. There was some hair that looked like the same color as Eloranta Naslun’s.

“Do any of you have spells that might allow us to contact her or find her or perhaps we could find a diviner?” I said.

Groth noted he could cast scrying and thought on that.

“It could help with scrying, but as I don’t really know what she looks like …” he said.

“Oh, I know what she looks like,” I said. “Would that help?”

He noted it was more difficult if the scryer didn’t know the person or have any physical connection to them. He said he needed some physical connection to someone he didn’t know. I pointed out we had her hairs, which should act as a physical connection. Turk agreed with that. Groth thought he could use the scry spell to possibly view her. I handed over the pieces of hair to him.

“No one knows where she is,” I said. “Perhaps that’s the divination you should cast. ‘Where is she?’”

“Sounds plausible,” Groth said.

“There are four islands near Dyvers,” I said. “But the military holds one of them. The others are held by nobles. There’s mansions. The third had docks. The fourth is also held by the military. It’s the river district.”

Groth asked if Alexiah or Turk had masterwork crossbow bolts, noting he needed three of them for his spell. He said he could use magical arrows but it was expensive. Neither Turk nor Alexiah had any masterwork bolts. There was talk of meeting in the morning.

We left her room and went back down to the second floor. I realized the keys all looked alike.

“By the way, Fred, it’s the 16th of Sunsebb, we found out from Bartleby,” Groth said.

It was 12 days until Needfest started.

We all went to our rooms, but I quickly returned to the hall and knocked on Groth’s door. He answered.

“A moment,” I said. “Can I have a moment? Can we talk for a moment?”

“Yeah,” he said.

I slipped into the room and told him about the stories I’d heard of the priest of Fharlanghn and the battle with the orc warlord who nearly killed the party. I told him there were people looking for a Groth Stoutbrew.

“I couldn’t help overhearing you when you mentioned your name yesterday,” I said.

“Oh,” he said.

“So I thought I should warn you.”

“Yes, we know of this.”

“I didn’t even know your brother’s name until the second day we were traveling together. I thought his name was Groth’s Brother. I don’t know how dwarven naming conventions work. I thought you should know.”

He told me of the battle with Oogerkeesh back in early Reaping and how they had been defeated by the orcs who were stealing the Compass of Esk-Al-Rook, that worked using Stoutbrew blood. He mentioned something called the Caduceus of Repose and the Crook of Rao as well.

“Well, I thought I should warn you,” I said.

“This also explains why we were not forthcoming within information about ourselves to you initially,” he said. “So, now we have multiple people who are looking for us.”

“What is Stoutbrew in Dwarvish?” I said. “Why don’t you call yourself that, especially if some nosy guards who wants some favor from you for an undeserving city bothers you about it again?”


“Call yourself … well, I know it in elvish,” I said. “But I don’t speak dwarven.”

“I would think that most guards who heard me speak dwarven would ask for the common translation. Then you’re just chasing your tale.”

“Well, what’s the common translation of Sorgenson? I’ve heard that name before.”

Suddenly, a bright flash burst in the room. I turned and ran for the door with a shriek, crashing into it.

“It’s them!” I shouted. “They’re here for you!”

“It’s fine!” Groth said.

I had gotten the door open and was halfway into the hall. A man wearing white robes and with lightning bolts tattooed to his arms and neck stood in the middle of the room. Fred and Alexiah came out of their rooms and rushed to the door to peek in.

“Bartleby: Himo,” Groth said.

“It hasn’t been five seconds,” Fred said. “It’s been a couple days.”

He went back to his room.

“Bartleby: Himo,” Groth said again. “Himo: Bartleby.”

A few other people opened their doors.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” I said. “I’ve had a little too much to drink.”

“Keep it down,” one man said.

“Yes,” I said. “Terribly sorry.”

The man closed his door.

“He was clapping the loudest for my stories not an hour ago,” I said.

“Fred said I’ve missed a couple days?” Himo said.

I went back into the room. Alexiah followed and I closed the door.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I’m sorry. We were speaking of dreadful things and suddenly a blast of light and I …”

“I understand,” Groth said. “I understand. If I didn’t recognize Himo right away, I would be startled as well.”

“Himo, what’s the last thing you recall?” Alexiah asked.

“We were casting the planar travel spell,” Himo said.

“Yeah, something apparently went … a little awry with that,” Groth said.

He explained how Fred had appeared out of nowhere as we approached the city earlier that day. He told how they had arrived the day before and where we were now located. When Himo asked if it was near to Greyhawk, I told him it was a few days travel. He remembered going through Dyvers before when they were traveling through Verbobonc to get the shards.

“Wait, the shards in Verbobonc?” I said. “Was that you?”

“What?” Groth said.

“Who dealt with the shards?” I said. “There was news in Furyondy about a group of adventurers – they didn’t name them – dealing with certain magical shards.”

Groth pointed to the shards circling Himo’s head.

“Those are the shards!” I said. “I’ve heard about those!”

I told them what I had heard in Furyondy of the adventurers who helped the Temple of St. Cuthbert in Verbobonc. The shards were believed to be remnants from treasure believed lost in the Temple of Elemental Evil. I noted I had told the news to the people in the tavern earlier that evening.

“You said this gentleman’s name is …?” Himo said, looking at me.

“I’m Bartleby Grymm,” I said, extending my hand.

“Bartleby,” he said.

He took my hand and shook it.

“You’re Himo Nailo, the elf who melted in Greyhawk and turned into a man, correct?” I said.

“Yes,” he said.

“Yes, I’ve heard about you. Yes.”

“Bartle …”

“Bartleby Grymm,” I said. “I’m a traveling storyteller.”

“We ran into him when we appeared a days or so travel …” Groth said.

“Scared the dickens out of me,” I said.

“… we were what?” Groth said. “West of Dyvers?”

“A day or so west of Dyvers, yes,” I said.

“We ran into him,” Groth said. “He’s a bard. He’s got a lot of knowledge about this area. He’s heard some things about us. And …”

“You’re a part of the Company of the Copper Card?” I said to Himo. “They’ve been telling me about their adventures.”

“Yes,” Himo said. “I am.”

“So, Himo, we have a lot to catch up on, I know,” Groth said.

He told them of the constable asking for help in finding the missing Eloranta Naslun. He noted Dyvers helped keep Iuz from pushing south on the Nyr Dyv.

“Oh, they’re quite overrated when they talk of keeping Iuz from pushing down this way, I’m afraid, yes,” I muttered.

He talked to Himo of the missing smiths and the discussion we’d had on the way to Dyvers. He told Himo of the Sword of Fiery Might they had taken from Acheron and how it was connected to the Efreet Sultan, who was also connected to the Horn of Hellfire. He told Himo of Alexiah being the Hearthmother who had been loaned the Horn of Hellfire by the Sultan. He said he hoped they could trade the sword for the horn to the Sultan. He noted they didn’t know how to get to the plane of fire or how to meet with the sultan. He mentioned the library in Dyvers and the Academy of Sorcery that might give them more information.

I questioned Himo about his appearance on the field of battle in an adamantine egg. He noted he had been apart from the Company for a while and was returned in Acheron to them by duergar.

“What other holes do you need filled in on, Himo?” Groth said. “I guess now is as good a time as any.”

“I guess the only other question I would have is … where’s Falstaff?” Himo said.

“That was actually something I was going to ask you, Alexiah,” Groth said. “To my knowledge, Turk had asked to hang onto the helm for some reason. I assume he had his reasons for it. I didn’t question him much.”

“Yes, you mentioned something was wrong with Turk when he went to get your ale,” I said.

“Yes,” Groth said. “Something is influencing him. I also cast another spell when I was asking him about the smiths and everything. I cast a spell and got several questions answered about Turk – because he’s been acting very … odd.”

“Another spell to commune with your god?” I said.

“I agree,” Alexiah said.

“He seems to be coveting magical items,” Groth said.

“And valuable items,” Alexiah said.

“The rubies,” I said.

“And you understand, Himo, because you were there when, as long as he was around the possession of the helmet, when Fred used it …” Groth said.

We all looked at Himo, who was wearing a stylized helmet decorated with numerous turquoise stones as well as lapis lazuli gems. The helmet was gold plated and the brow had an intricate cobra head. The sides flared out stylishly in a manner I’d never seen before.

“So, I asked my god if Turk was under the spells that make him covet items more. No,” Groth went on. “‘Has something made Turk change in some way?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Is Turk changed by the hands of someone we met?’ ‘No.’ ‘Is there an item changing Turk?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Is the teleport helm changing Turk?’ ‘No.’ ‘Is Turk currently wearing the item changing him?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Will removing the item stop changing Turk?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Is the item that is changing Turk easily visible?’ ‘No.’ ‘Is the item a necklace?’ ‘No.’ ‘Is the item that’s changing Turk from an adventure with us that we received treasure from?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Is the item that’s changing Turk a ring?’ ‘Unclear.’ Is what I got. Turk is really only wearing one ring, but I don’t know if it’s the same‒”

“Wait,” I said. “Your god didn’t know if it was the ring or not?”

“If I remember from you casting these spells in the past, you don’t get clear answers,” Himo said.

“That’s divination,” Groth said. “I cast commune. It’s a more powerful spell. It’s a yes or no. Sometimes it can give you a short phrase if it would be misleading to answer it by saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to something. It can also respond ‘unclear.’”

“So, essentially Turk has an item that …” Himo said.

“May or may not be a ring,” I said.

“… may or may not be a ring,” Himo said. “And is in some way influencing him to hoard magic items.”

“So, he’s wearing one ring,” Alexiah said. “And your god did say it was treasure we received. So what ring is he wearing?”

“He’s wearing a ring of minor fire resistance, as we all are, that we got, I believe from the Serpent Mound,” Groth said.

“I’m assuming that Falstaff wanted to hold onto or keep some magic item and …” Himo said.

“Well, Turk wanted to hang onto the helmet,” Groth said. “At the time, I didn’t want to question my brother on it. That seemed to upset Falstaff. I just thought it was Falstaff being emotional. Then the next morning, he was gone. He deserted us. So … I don’t know exactly what happened. You said you met with him for a while, Alexiah. Do you know any more about this?”

“I was not present when Turk approached Falstaff regarding the helmet,” Alexiah said. “So when I came upon Falstaff again, he did mention it to me.”

She thought on it.

“Losing Falstaff will be quite hard for our future,” Himo said.

“Well, he sounds quite mad to me,” I said. “Didn’t he threaten to burn down the Temple of Heironeous? That’s what I heard. He threatened the priests?”

“Well he … he’s loyal, I’ll say that,” Himo said. “He was not going to let me be burnt at the stake.”

“Oh. Interesting.”

“The only reason he allowed it is because I asked the group to let it happen.”

“I’d like to hear that story if you don’t mind telling me at some point.”

“The short version is I had faith in my beliefs, and I had learned about myself. The Temple of Heironeous in Greyhawk did not accept it.”

“They thought he was a heretic,” Groth said. “Essentially.”

“Burnt me at the stake as a heretic,” Himo said. “They said it had to be a man, not an elf.”

“Interesting,” I said.

“I accepted my fate if I was wrong in my faith.”

“But you weren’t because you turned into …”

I gestured at Himo.

“I … yes … I rose from the fire as a human,” Himo said.

“Why?” I asked.

“I don’t know. Because Heironeous wanted it?”

“To fulfill the prophecy?”

“I suppose.”

“What else does the prophecy say?”

“I am not a hundred percent clear on it. It was not something I was aware of before I started adventuring.”

“Well, perhaps we should ask when we return to the City of Greyhawk.”

“I’ve had bits and pieces in my past but it is still very unclear what is destined for me or what the prophecy supposedly is.”

“Well, the point of a prophecy is to prophesize. Perhaps we should find out.”

Alexiah spoke up again.

“Falstaff confided in me when we came together that he felt that Turk demanded the teleportation helmet from him which Falstaff had been holding,” she said. “That when Falstaff inquired as to the reasoning to this, he was lied to by Turk and that Turk wasn’t honest with him and that Turk was trying to take an item that belonged to the party from another member of the party. I wasn’t there. I don’t know exactly what happened, but the way it was portrayed to me by Falstaff, he didn’t feel comfortable with the party if Turk as our …”

“Moral Compass?” Himo said.

“Yeah,” Alexiah said. “Moral Compass, our guider, that he is then behaving this way. It really frustrated him and made him concerned about remaining with us, which is why I believe that once … for my sake, he did help me – because I do not have magical abilities or knowledge of – get back to you. But then once we were out of battle, he did retreat again from us.”

“Turk’s a paladin,” I said.

“Correct,” Alexiah said.

“Paladins can’t lie,” I said. “It’s against the moral code of every group of paladins.”

“It wasn’t‒” Groth said.

“But again, if he’s under the influence of something evil, something that is …” Alexiah said.

“He didn’t really lie,” Groth said.

“… stronger than his will as a creature on this Oerth …” Alexiah said.

“The way the interaction went down, I just thought it was Turk being … of a normal dwarf,” Groth said. “We get right to the point and ask, usually, and he asked for the helm. Falstaff might have asked why. Turk said he would carry it so Falstaff wouldn’t have to carry it in his bad of holding as it was heavy. Then Turk insisted on having it and Falstaff took it out and threw it on the ground.”

“I would then assume that the easiest but most difficult solution at the same time would be to force Turk to strip off all items he carries,” Himo said. “But that would cause …”

“If he’s having issues with letting go of things, I don’t think that’s going to go over very well,” Alexiah said. “Even if it comes from his brother.”

“We need to figure out what it is before we address it,” Himo said.

“I’ve had a couple thoughts,” Groth said. “The ‘unclear’ on the ring has me confused. I’d like to look over his items and see if he has anything that sheds any light on that. We also now have a bard with us.”

“Well, I do have some knowledge,” I said. “If I could examine items, I could give some information on them, their history and that kind of thing. I can do that right now or any time. I would have to examine them closely. I would have to have them in my hand and look at them.”

I gestured at the ring on Groth’s finger.

“Like that ring there,” I said. “I’d have to actually hold it and examine it. There might be markings or writings on it that would give away a clue to its past.”

“Okay,” Himo said.

“Well, we used to have Rakel,” Groth said. “She used to do that for us some time ago. And so we might be able to do something along those lines.”

“If it’s magic compelling him, whatever item he’s not willing to let anyone look at is probably the correct item,” I said.

“Unless the item is influencing him in a way to not let any of his items be looked at,” Himo said.

“Right,” Groth said. “I feel it’s more the latter there.”

Himo asked a few questions about the missing woman and Groth told him what we’d found in her room. I questioned how she locked the door without a key. Groth suggested she teleported out and Himo mentioned someone teleporting in. We discussed the cloak pin we’d found, but I’d never noticed her wearing it or a cloak for that matter. I asked to see the pin but Groth noted Fred had it.

Himo looked at the dark window and suggested we leave it for the morning. Groth noted he was about to cast divination and asked Himo if he had any masterwork arrows or crossbow bolts.

“Why do you keep asking people for this?” I said.

“Because it’s a simple item,” Groth said. “I need to have something roughly worth 25 or 30 gold pieces to sacrifice to my god.”

I reached into my belt pouch and pulled out the ruby I’d gotten from them earlier.

“This is worth 25 gold pieces,” I said.

“All right,” Groth said.

I handed it over to him. He reached into his magical bag and took out the next sized-up ruby, which was worth 50 gold pieces.

“Oh!” I said.

“Consider that my share,” he said. “You can have my share out of it.”

“Oh, that seems hardly fair but … thank you.”

“It’s fine.”

“Well, if there’s anything important, you know what room I’m in.”

“I guess I’ll go down and get a room,” Himo said.

“Good idea,” Groth said.

“I’ll go with you,” I said.

“And maybe a little something to eat,” Himo said. “I feel like I haven’t eaten in months.”

“With everything’s that going on with Turk, I have been holding onto the shards,” Alexiah said. “If you’re comfortable, I would gladly take them.”

Himo handed over the shards floating around his head and we left the room.