Conveniently for Prang, an old associate of his by the name of Symes
happens to live in the very village
that our heroes have reached. Prang contacts him magically, and says that
him to find out as much as he can about the visitors. That
doesn't sound too onerous, and in any case one doesn't refuse to help a
wizard, even if he's theoretically retired. And especially not as evil and
powerful a one as Prang,
Symes thinks, rueing the day many years before that he first got involved
When the new arrivals, having checked into their rooms at the village inn (which rather pretentiously likes to call itself a hotel), appear in the main bar, Symes is waiting. He springs forward and offers to buy them a round of drinks. They are happy to accept his hospitality, and soon they are all seated around a table and chatting merrily, for Symes appears to be a pleasant fellow.
"So what brings you to such an out of the way place as this?" Symes asks. "We don't get many visitors here." Jarlath can see no reason not to give an honest answer - except of course that he will not mention that they don't come from this world or what they want the herb for. "We need a supply of a particular herb," he says. "We've heard that a wizard called Prang is an expert on its uses, so we hope that he will have a supply and be able to let us have some. Our route to his abode happened to pass through this village."
"Prang, eh?" Symes says, managing not to show his surprise. "Have any of you ever met him?" That was a question that Prang had primed him to ask, as he wanted to know whether Annafrid had retained any memory of past events. It shouldn't be possible, of course, but if she could somehow show up after he had banished her then he wasn't taking any chances. "No, none of us has met him," Astra says, and the others all nod.
Later that evening, after the strangers have gone to bed, Symes sits at home alone, waiting for Prang to contact him. It has to be done that way, for he has no way of contacting the wizard. When the contact is made, Symes relates the conversation that he has had with the visitors. "So they are coming to see me, are they?" Prang says. "How very convenient. That will give me at least a week to prepare for their arrival. And from observing Annafrid you are sure that she retains no memory of meeting me? Then she will be in for a shock. When they arrive, I shall find out what a young man, three very beautiful young women, a demifox and an elf can want with me. Then, once my curiosity has been satisfied...
10/14/2000 9:14:20 AM
The Never Ending Quest Home
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