In which there are many games, an unexpected gift, and trust is lost

Wingard Festival and Afterwards

Part II

Trying not to bounce around too much I went to some of the games.   Festivals are so great!   There is music and dancers!  Games of chance with prizes to be won, and other exciting things!  It was almost a night of whimsy.  Anyone could be a winner if they danced the right steps with Lady Luck.   And I totally planned on cutting lose for a night of carefree fun….and maybe win something cute!   The first place I headed to was the games!   There were varying games around.   Ring tosses, tests of skills.  I decided to start with something fairly easy and played a few ring toss games.   With a bit of luck and skill I won a gypsy love charm and two flowers.   After briefly consulting Amayah that the charm was not magical, I smiled and put it on and stuck the flowers into my hair.   Looking around, another game caught my eye.  It was a dart throwing game.  If you managed to stick a certain amount of darts, there were stuffed animals to be had!   Feeling like a little girl all over again, I was determined to win a stuffed animal!   There were many colors and sizes of different animals.  I loved them all and wanted to win one!   Confident in my skills as a fighter, I knew the game would be a piece of cake.   I mean, you would think so right?  I’ve bested many a foe with my battle prowess….only to be bested in turn by A DART GAME!   It had to be weighted!   Or rigged!   Rigged I tell you!  I was tricked!   Magic had to have been used by concealed wizards nearby!   I was robbed of winning a stuffed animal of cuteness!   Fuming, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, Galant appear and approach Amayah and I.   But…the game must be won!   The conversation could wait!   After several more tries, I looked at my dwindling money, stamped my foot and stormed off, leaving Galant and Amayah behind in conversation.   Earlier I had seen many patrons of the festival walking around with food, so I went off to find meat on a stick.  Because hey, what’s not to like about that right?

With my spirits lifted thanks to the little piece of tasty goodness on a stick, I walked around a bit more and noticed a sign for a fortune teller.   Excited, I hurried over to see if she was available.   She smiled as she saw me enter her domain and beckoned for me to sit at her table.   Taking my hand and looking over it a bit, she told me that I had a strong love line….but it was fractured.   My thoughts immediately went to Theradon, but before I could dwell on it for too long, she told me that I would find true love in the end.   She then went on to say that my destiny was not yet written and cautioned me to hold my friend close.   When I offered her payment, she refused to accept any.   Gifting her with one of my flowers, I thanked her for her time and wisdom.  She smiled and told me to send the rest of my friends to see her.

As I exited her tent I could hear shouts coming from outside.   Rushing over to see what the commotion was about, I stopped short as the scene unfolded before me.   I couldn’t believe it!   Tathandral had apparently decided to attack the meat vendor’s cart!   As I tried to take in what was happening, I recalled that while I had been busy playing games, Tath had been inquiring about meat the whole night.   Bah!   I ran forward and shouted at him to stop.  Just because he was hungry did not excuse him for his bad manners.   Even though it tore my heart to scold him, and really I was partly to blame, I apologized to the meat merchant and paid for the entire meat cart with one of Tath’s diamonds.   Thankfully he wasn’t too angry and was all too happy to take the diamond as payment.   As for Tath, he felt horrible about thinking with his tummy, but was also pleased that he was able to have the entire meat cart to himself.   With both parties happy and a look towards the sky at the time, I decided I would head back to the Shrugging Lion to see if Mazrith or Theradon had returned.   But first….another try at the stuffed animal game!     ….Which of course did not go in my favor!   Blast that thrice curst game, I just wanted a stuffed animal of cuteness!!   After a bit of searching about I failed to find Mazrith or Theradon and decided to continue with my previous plan of heading back to the Shrugging Lion.   Knowing that Tathandral was happily munching away at his meat, and that Amayah and Galant were conversing somewhere, I left the sounds of the festival behind and walked back.

On my way back, I noticed a man up ahead was approaching several people.  It looked as if he was inquiring about something.  Sure enough he headed my way after the group in front of me shook their heads.   He asked if there was an inn in town and I told him about the Shrugging Lion being the only inn and how the rooms were rented out.   Feeling a bit sorry for him, I considered offering for him to stay with us, but I did not know how that would go over with the rest of the group, and it was not my place to offer up their room to a stranger.   Wish him luck, he thanked me in turn and walked on.   As I turned to continue making my way out of nowhere, Theradon showed up.   It was as if he had appeared out of the shadows themselves!   With a smile he told me that he had something for me, and before I could ask what he was he presented me with a stuffed animal in the shape of a pony….YES!!!!   How had he managed to get this?   That game was….was….impossible! I have to admit, I was very impressed with his skills, and proceeded to tell him about this over and over with a few kisses.   After showering him with my heartfelt gratitude, I told him that I had been searching for Mazrith, and also brought him up to speed about what I had found out about Galant, and confided in him my disappointment about how he had not told us about his previous dealings in Wingard.   Theradon said that he had also seen Mazrith briefly and since he could not find him either, suggested we continue on together to the Shrugging Lion.   With my gift in my hand, and Theradon next to me, I thought about what the fortune teller had said, and briefly toyed with the idea of boldly suggesting we make use of one of the rooms that I had secured.   But with the luck I had been having that night, someone would walk right in!

Galant and Amayah were not far behind getting to the tavern after we had, and Maz was still nowhere in sight.   It seems after I stormed off in my huff about the game, Galant and Amayah were approached by a group of nobles.   The nobles informed them about how the mayor’s son had been missing and asked Galant to find him.   With a look at Theradon, I decided now would be the time to ask Galant why he had been keeping information from us, and why he did not tell us that he was also a son of the same family.   In a very distant manner, he replied that he was not related to them.  I informed him that wasn’t what I was told and pointed out the attention he had drawn the moment we entered town.   He replied angrily that the family was never family to him and never considered him family.   Why was he being so stubborn and closed-mouthed about this?   Doesn’t he realize that he can’t keep things like this from the group?   Who knows what we could be walking into!  There are times I worry that the Shadow Man sees and hears everything we do…he could be anyone….and anywhere.   I tried to change my approach.  I admit I had put him on the defensive, maybe I should be a bit more understanding and try and be empathetic to what was struggling with.   So I explained to him as best as I could that I could understand why he would want to find his brother, but he continued to stubbornly insist that the missing boy was not his brother.  Galant then went on to say that he does not care about them and that the party could leave the city to its fate and we could turn our backs on them, but he didn’t believe we were the type of people to do that and so that is why he wanted to help out the family.   He said this with such a lack of emotion…such an off-handed manner, as if he were merely commenting about the weather.   It shook my trust in him.   With a forced smile and a laugh of false brightness I told him that of course we would help him and the family out.   Before the conversation could turn to other things, the others decided that it would be beneficial to venture back out and perhaps gather information.   As we split up, I caught Theradon’s eye.   Once we were alone I confided in him about how upset I was with Galant and how I was no longer sure if he could be trusted.   Theradon nodded in understanding.   “Find out what you can about him, if you learning anything else, let me know.”  I told him that I would, and searched his face for a sign of reassurance that I was just being unreasonable.   Galant had lead us to Wingard and proven himself a valuable ally, but what did we really know about him?   The fortune teller had advised me to hold my friends close.   Was Galant really a friend?   After questioning some of the locals, we headed back to the inn and decided to call it a night.   I hate going to sleep with feelings of unease and I know that I will lay awake for most of the night.   I would give anything to be curled up next to Tath right now, or next to Theradon’s warm body, but tomorrow is another day, and it will come early.

-Alusair Farstrider


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