(PART 4 OF 10)


It was late, about 9pm, when I arrived back at the castle. I followed the path along the edge of the castle back to Laurenna's hunting lodge.

"Were you able to help the white wolf?" she asked. "Yes, Snorri has the cure potion and is taking care of the beast even as we speak. He said to tell you that everything should be ok now, and not to worry." She smiled, then looked quietly at the castle tower.

"What's wrong?" I asked. "Eldorf, I'm sorry to trouble you, but I'm worried about my mother. She has signaled me from the tower in the past, but a little while ago, she sent me the signal for 'danger'. I have not seen anything from her window since that time." I wondered aloud: "Would it be possible for me to get into the tower?" "No," she replied. "It would be impossible. The door is charmed and won't open unless you have the correct key for it. However, you could ask Kielreen, the barmaid in the castle, if she has any information." I remembered Kielreen - she's the one who first started me on this long story. I said I would check with her in the morning, as I could barely keep my eyes open.

Laurenna said she understood, and I headed back to the inn. I put down 10 gold pieces and went to my room for the night.

The next morning at 7am, I got up, had a bite to eat, then headed to the castle throne room. Kielreen said that she didn't have any information about Sigrid, but said she'd investigate and that I should come back later. That would have been the end of the conversation for a while, except for the next statement she made. "I've heard rumors of a prisoner in the dungeon who might have information about Wulfgar's death." "Do you know who he is?" I asked. "I don't know his name," she said, "but if you are nice to the prison guard, he may let you talk to him."

I took off my robe and headed on down to the castle dungeon (every castle seems to have one). I passed by several berserkers there that Ragnar had hired to act as his personal guards. They're tough in battle. I was glad I hadn't offended any of them yet.

I made my way to the dungeon, and inside, found the keeper, an extremely agreeable fellow by the name of "VonSchlepp". He didn't seem too upset that I wanted to speak with what was the only prisoner in the castle. "Sure," he said, "go ahead and talk. Talk is cheap." Well, at those prices, anyone can afford it.

I knocked on the prison door and got his attention. "My name is Eldorf, and I've come to ask you about your situation." I said. "My name is Erik," he replied, "and I've been kept here for about a year now. I am from Dagon Fel, and came here to set up a business. Shortly after arriving here, I was in the forest when I witnessed a murder. When I told one of the guards about it, they grabbed me and tossed me in here. No trial, no messages, no anything. I'm really more worried about my wife, Hellena. She's still in Dagon Fel, and probably thinks I've died." "Erik," I said, "I may have met your wife. She's in the inn here in LoKKen, looking for you." Erik nearly burst into tears when he found out his wife was here. "Eldorf, look, I don't know you, but please go to Hellena, and see if she can find a way out of here for me." I said I would do so. I could see there was something seriously wrong about all of this. As I turned to go, he said "Eldorf, one more thing. Tell Hellena I love her." I turned, smiled, and said I would be happy to oblige.

I made my way back to the inn, and found Hellena. "Erik?? He's alive?? Oh, thank the gods! I've been so worried about him. I thought he was dead, but I didn't want to believe it." I said that Erik asked if she had a plan to get him out of jail. She wasn't sure how to do it herself, but suggested that we go to the lighthouse nearby. "Fiona Klang is a family friend of mine. She might be able to help, since her brother is the dungeon guard."

With that in mind, I tossed my robe back on, and we headed out the door.

It didn't take very long before we reached the cabin. Fiona's husband, the lighthouse keeper, met us outside. He was busy chasing a mouse or some other type of vermen out of his lighthouse when we approached. "Hellena, good to see you! My wife's inside, go on in, she'll make ya a hot cuppa tea." Well, at least someone's happy to see us.

Fiona listened to the entire story and then she might have a way to get Erik out of jail. she quickly wrote out a letter and told me to take it to VonSchlepp, her brother. Yet another long walk back to the castle, back to the dungeon, and back to VonSchlepp.

VonSchlepp, upon reading the note, gave me a worried look. "I don't really want to get into trouble here," he said, "but yer right - there is something not quite right here with all this business." "What can we do for him?" I asked. "Look, Vollmar and Fjorngrin were stuck in jail sometime back. My sister suggested that we get Erik out the way we got THEM out." "What do we need to do?" I asked. "Take this letter up to the smith's wife." he said. "The smith can't be trusted, but his wife is a friend of my sister. She'll give you some armor so Erik will look like a regular palace guard. You can walk him right out of here and no one will be the wiser." He squinted at me. "Don't tell anyone about this, ok? I like my job."

Well, who wouldn't love a job as dungeon master?

After wandering the castle halls, I came across a door that opened to an upper courtyard. There, I found Mr. Schmidt's home, and inside, I found Frideborg, his wife. She read the note, and understood what was going on. "Here's a set of armor, and the helmet will cover his face, so you shouldn't have any trouble getting Erik out of the castle. Just get this back to me as quickly as you can, so my husband doesn't know about it. The less said, the better."

I thanked her and took the equipment to the dungon, and gave it to Erik.

Erik put the armor on. Even though he was a Nord, he just barely fit into the heavy armor. The helmet made him look like some vicious demon, but the fact that it covered his face was a plus in our favor.

"Are you sure this will work?" he asked, nervously. "Well, it worked for two others before you, so yes, it should work again. Remember, you look like a palace guardsman. Just act like one, and no one will be the wiser."

With that, we both walked out of the dungeon. I told him to walk behind me, as if he was on patrol in the halls. He seemed to do just that. Once outside, we simply walked right out of the area and towards the lighthouse.

We soon reached the cabin, and I took back Erik's armor. He was elated to see his wife. He said he needed to rest up a bit, and thanked me for my help. His wife gave me a big bearhug, too!

I took the armor back to Frideborg, and made sure everything was ok with her. She was glad to get the armor back, and I headed back to the throne room to let Kielreen know what had happened.

Once I arrived back in the throne room, Kielreen let me know she still hadn't heard anything about Sigrid's condition in the prison tower, but a friend had told her that Laurenna wanted to see me about something, and it was very important.

I headed back to Laurenna's location. She told me that Snorri had sent word that he needed to see me urgently, and that it was about the white wolf. "Is the wolf dying?" I asked. "No, not that I know of." she replied. "Snorri just said it was very, very important that you visit him right away, and that it definately concerns the white wolf."

I dreaded the thought of having to walk all that distance again. I still wanted to keep a low profile, not wanting to tip my hand of being a powerful mage. I said my goodbyes, and headed towards the path behind the castle.

Once at the back of the castle wall, I turned right instead of the usual left, and came upon the edge of a cliff. Flying as a cliffracer would be faster, but it would attract too much attention, since they don't fly this far north (too cold, it seems). I used a spell to transform myself into a mist instead, and floated gently into the sky, off to Snorri's cave.

It would have taken me almost as long to walk, but at least I didn't have to go AROUND the mountains this time. I arrived at the cave entrance and cancelled out the mist-form spell...and landed right on the top of a hollyberry bush. After pulling berries out of my robe, I headed into the cave to meet Snorri and see what all the fuss was about. I was hoping it was good news.

Snorri was happy to see me. "Eldorf, old man! Glad to see you back safe and sound. I have some good news for ya!"

Old man? Oh well.

"How is the white wolf doing?" I asked. "Did the potion work?" Snorri gave me a big grin, and said "Sure, he pulled through just fine, thanks to your quick work." "So what did you need to speak with me about?" I asked. "Oh, not me." he replied. "The white wolf would like a word with you. I believe you'll be very interested to hear what he has to say."