Friday, November 06, 2009

Across World Bubbles - pt 6

Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

After having separated to baffle pursuit, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser met in Dim Lane before the iron-reinforced curtained doorway of the Silver Eel, possibly an even more seedy tavern than the Lamprey. Fafhrd pushed aside the heavy drapery, admitting his compatriot into the close confines of the smoky common room. They took up their abode in an empty booth and ordered wine to slake their heroic thirsts.

After they had drunk, Fafhrd removed a scroll from his belt and laid it on the table before the Mouser. It was a most unusual scroll, crafted of some silvery scaly material, neither parchment nor metal. It reminded the Mouser of dragon skin. "I found this in my pocket," Fafhrd said.

The Mouser gingerly lifted the thing with two fingertips and unscrolled it. They leaned their heads together to read:

Greetings Gentle Son,

Let us suppose for a moment that you and your gray companion were lost in a strange world quite unlike those others you've visited, in that upon arriving there you knew nothing of it, neither its cities nor its languages, its peoples or its gods. And let us suppose that you met there a most kind and generous host who took you in and treated you as though you were his own beloved sons, and that this adoptive father happened to be the greatest wizard to ever have lived in any of the known or unknown worlds...
They scanned ahead a bit, then read...

Take care of this small wanderer from another world. Protect him with your very life, and as a great personal favor to me, help him find his way home - a world with the uncouth name of Krynn (please don't laugh). He is a greater weaver of preposterous lies and bald-faced forgeries than even your friend and accomplice, the Mouser Gray. But before you send him on his world-hopping way, the three of you might see to a small matter, that of a princess in Ool Hrusp who has gone astray and threatens to remain unmarried upon assuming the throne from her decrepit father: a sort of virgin queen, if such a thing can be imagined. Also, if it is not too much trouble...
The narrative continued for several more feet, detailing various impossible quests for the three to undertake, if they were in the neighborhood. The letter was signed with a seven-armed swastika, one of the many sigils used by Ninguable of the Seven Eyes. Also, there was a postscript, hastily penned:

P.S. Beware of Sheelba's rune!

"He must mean this," the Mouser said as he laid a small clay tablet on the table. One edge was caked with a gray and salty mud, and its upward face was carved with a queer rune. "I found it in my pocket, not unlike your scroll."

"Nimble little fellow," Fafhrd commented.

"So where do you suppose this Tasslehoof has gone?" Mouser wondered.

"Tasslehoff: two ef's and one oh. Ning's handwriting is atrocious. I suspect the creature was nabbed by those Guild bravos, thinking he was our accomplice." Fafhrd rubbed his head as though it ached him, then took another long pull of wine. As he thumped his cup to the table, he sighed, "I suppose we shall have to rescue him, lest Ning place a curse on us."

"Another foray against Thieves' Guild?" Mouser groaned.

"It would seem we are forever doomed to enter that accursed den," Fafhrd said.

Mouser thoughtfully tapped his teeth as he reread Ninguable's missive. "Perhaps after we've rescued him, we could take the chap straight home, bypassing all of Ning's quests. This Krynn sounds like an interesting place, though I don't quite understand what could be so wonderful about a dish of spiced potatoes."

"Different people, different customs. I wonder why Ninguable even bothered to mention it."

"Most likely to fire our curiosity. Flights of dragons in the sky, he says. Preposterous. It might be worth investigating, if only to debunk it," the Mouser said. "It's a wonder old Ning doesn't have a cave somewhere that leads to Krynn."

"He probably does. He just wants us to come to him before he tells us of it. Shall we hie ourselves to Thieves' Guild?" Fafhrd asked.

"If we must," Mouse said.

"Besides, the little thief has stolen my dagger."

"Mine, as well."

Read Part 7

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