(PART 7 OF 10)

I met the bearcubs at the shore where I left them. They seemed a bit nervous at first, but when I took my helmet off, they remembered me. I had them follow me again, and we headed off to Snorri's hideout.

On the way back to Snorri's hideout, I was attacked by another rickling raider. The two bearcubs came to my aid, but it wasn't needed. Just two hits of Thorjan's Warhammer, and the rickling was history. Truly, a most powerful weapon. No wonder Wulfren said he would need it.

We finally arrived back at Snorri's hideout. It was getting late in the day, and I was very tired. This had been a very busy day, and I really wanted to plop down in a nice warm bed and take a nap. Somehow, I didn't think that would happen. What I really wondered was what I was going to do with two bearcubs on my tail.

As soon as Snorri saw me in Mad Bull's armor, he let out a huge belly-laugh. "Where did you get such an outfit as that, old man?" he laughed? "Why you look like the agent of death himself." Well, it certainly did look out of character for my persona, so I could understand his reaction. When he saw the two snowbear cubs behind me, he laughed again. "Oh, and now you're the proud parent of two snowbears, eh?" I just smiled weakly at him. "Well, the armor belonged to Mad Bull. I'm taking care of it for him while he's busy." "Oh?" said Snorri, "what's he busy doing?" "Well," I replied, "He's busy being dead right now." I gave him a wink. "Mad Bull, you say? Hmmm, he was always a tough one. Anyone who can take him down, well, I must say, I'm impressed with you, old man."

"What are we to do with the bearcubs?" I asked. "Oh, you can leave them with me. I'll be happy to take care of them. I'm a lover of nature, you see. Say, what's that you have there? Thorjan's Gauntlets? And, by the two moons, you have Thorjan's Warhammer as well!!" You certainly are an impressive one." He motioned me to the back of the cave. "Go talk to Wulfren. I'm certain he'll be happy to see you with this."

I went to the back of the cave, and met with Wulfren. He was extremely happy to see that I had both the gauntlets and the warhammer. Now, we needed to discuss what to do about his condition. "Kreikan changed me into this white wolf. Only his desire to reverse the spell, or his death, will undo this magic. Snorri has tried everything he knows, and nothing seems to work. "Well, I'm pretty good with magic." I said. "I could help you with this task. I'm just not sure how to proceed. He seems pretty well-protected, and Ragner is always by his side." I pointed out.

"Talk to Laurenna. There is a secret passage between the master bedroom and the throne room. She'll know where the entrance is. The door opens up in such a way that you should be able to sneak up on Kreikan from behind. Mind you, he's a VERY powerful mage." I didn't have to be reminded of that. I didn't want to find myself turned into another white wolf as well.

The plan was to head back to the castle, talk to Laurenna, let her show me where the secret passage was, kill Kreikan, sneak out, and report back. Once Kreikan was dead, Wulfren should be back in human form. What could possibly go wrong?

Since I had to leave the gauntlets with Wulfen, I could no longer carry everything I had with me. I had to leave most of Mad Bull's equipment there in the cave. Well, I knew where it was, and I could always come back for it.

I took what I could carry, said goodbye to the two snowbear cubs, and headed back to the castle.

I decided not to take any chances with wild animals, so I changed into a mist, and floated back to the castle in the night sky. Slow, but peaceful.

It was nearly 9:30pm at night when I arrived back at the castle. Lokken village seemed sound asleep, as I wanted to be right now. It had been a very, very busy day.

I landed just behind the inn, and changed back into my incredibly handsome self. It was getting extremely chilly out, and was glad to get inside the inn, where there was a nice, hot fire waiting for me.

I went to the innkeeper, and paid for another night there. Good thing I did, too, since most of my stuff was still upstairs in the room.

I got down to the essentals, put my stuff on the table, and crawled into bed.

I almost didn't want to get out of bed the next morning, it was that cold in my room! I finally convinced myself of the need to do so, scurried to the table, and got my warm robe on. I picked a few things out that I would need for the day. This was just a messenger mission, as far as I could tell.

Kielreen was waiting for me at the bar already. She told me that she had a letter from Laurenna's mother. I purchased a mug of mead, and quenched my thirst. That stuff is strong! I felt like I could pick up a snowbear and toss it across the room. It also nearly made me lose my balance. Well, at least it tasted better than my restore magic potions.

I hurried up the pathway to Laurenna's lodge and we read the letter from Sigrid. In the letter, she stated that she had decided to marry Ragnar Fire Hair, that she felt she had no choice. Ragner told her what had happened, that Wulfren wasn't really dead. He admitted that Kreikan had placed a spell on Wulfren. The way the letter read, Ragnar would be instructed to remove the spell on Wulfgar once they're married. Laurenna knew that was a lie. "It will never happen. Even if they're married, Wulfren is the rightful heir as chieftan. Ragnar will never allow that to happen. Laurenna knew it, and I knew it. Ragner was just plan no-good, and there was no way around it.

Laurenna gave me a note to bring back to Kielreen. In it, she was to let her aunt Gwenn at the brewery know when Ragnar was going off on a hunting mission. When they're off hunting, Laurenna insists on going with me into the castle. We'll have to meet up with the maid, Agnete. She has a key to the master bedroom, and from there, we can get into the secret passage, and from there, the throne room. It'll be the only way to sneak up on Kreikan. Stealth and surprise must be used, lest we fail. Agnete would never give me the key, so Laurenna would have to follow along. How we're getting her into the castle is another matter. I only had one Amulet of Shadows with me.

"Eldorf," she said, "I am afraid. You know that Kreikan as a very powerful mage. Do you think we really have a chance against him?" I decided to re-assure her. "Laurenna, I, myself, am a mage, and not a bad one at that. I don't think you'll have to worry about me. I've had to handle worse things than Kreikan before." She looked at me in disbelief. "You're a mage?" she asked. "But, you have been using normal weapons all this time.  I thought you were just a normal Breton hunter." I grinned. "Ah, well, sometimes it's important to stay in practice with all those other resources, and not just rely solely on magic. It's good to stay well-rounded, if you catch my meaning." I smiled, and she smiled back. I said I would be back shortly, and headed off to deliver her message to Kielreen.

Back at the bar in the throne room, I handed the note to her as quickly as I could.I didn't want Ragnar Fire Hair seeing what I was doing.Kielreen said she'd let her aunt Gwenn know about any hunting expeditions going on.In the note, Laurenna had also warned her to stay away from the throne room while Ragnar was away.

That done, I headed back to my room at the inn. I figured I must meditate on what procedures I would use on Kreikan. Best to have a plan ready, rather than think one up at the last minute. I figured out a few possibilities, things I might have to summon in order to distract him, but in the end, I fugured I might have to simply use stealth - the Amulet of Shadows would most likely do.

I had remembered that when Ingemar told me where the gauntlets were, he said it was across the water from another burial tomb, Gyldenhul Barrow. Since I had some free time, I decided to take a visit there. It only took a few minutes to float there as a mist.

The door was held shut with a heavy lock. I selected a grandmaster's lockpick, and tried my hand at the mechanism. It took several tried, but I actually managed to pry the lock open.

Inside, I found the tomb of Gyldenhul. I could not touch his remains, as they were inside some type of material that I was not familiar with. It was what I found laying all over the place that amazed me: gold coins. Lots of them. I nearly stumbled over a pile of coins near the body's remains.

I took what I could carry back to my room at the inn. I then went back out, and did some more gathering. During my earlier searches, I had encountered several raiders. Since I had to carry my own weapons, I could not afford to add more weight and carry their things back home with me. I had to leave them piled up on the ground where the raiders had fallen. I had to make 3 trips, but I managed to get all of it back home. There was almost too much for me to handle. I stacked things as carefully as I could. I just hope the cleaning staff leaves things alone.