(Crossing, Zoluren: 12 Akroeg 358)
The Kaldar entered the room and allowed his eyes to adjust to the gloom. He spotted me at the bar and, when he was ready, strode across the room with those unnaturally long strides so common to his race. It always makes me shiver a bit when they show up at the inn, they have that Gorbesh look about them.
He didn’t take a seat but seemed to relish the comparative difference in our statures. I noticed he was not having the trouble adapting to Crossing ways so many of the others of his ilk were. He was armored in new half plate from Tembest’s and had a passable helm and gloves, though mismatched. I noticed he still had his battle worn mace.
He removed his Helm and spoke with a deep resonant voice, "May I have a time crumb…" he must have seen the confusion on my face and he scowled and continued. "I mean a slice, a moment of time…to speak with you."
I invited him to sit, which he did gratefully. I now felt chagrinned that I had assumed his standing was contemptuous of me…and Crossing. His manners had not allowed him to be seated until he was asked to be. "Many in the Crossing have said to me you are the one to hear my story. I have found you even as I prepare for a new life as a Paladin in this strange land." He removed his sturdy backpack and took out an odd shaped bundle wrapped carefully in an oiled and scented leather.
"Some little time ago when I was hunting in the deep forest near my home before we were forced to retreat on this trek, I came upon a Gorbesh hunting squad where one ought not to be. As I observed them from the safety of the trees, I noted they were nervous and impatient to get back on the trail. There had what appeared to be a prisoner, trussed like a dangerous criminal, though hardly a large or imposing woman. She appeared almost a child next to the Gorbesh and seemed wounded, weakened from loss of blood. The Gorbesh were involved in breaking camp and covering their tracks when I became aware that this woman was looking directly at where I hid in the brush. Her eyes spoke to me and told me to be patient. I hunkered down and waited til the troop was well away from the clearing then waited some more. Finally, in the failing light of the day I crept to the campsite and found this…" he indicated his bundle now setting on the rosewood bar between us.
I turned my attention to his leather case and saw it was not of Kaldar fashion, but most probably Zoluran, and expensive to boot. The leather was beautifully engraved with the hallmark of the Bard Guild and a spiral of wrens in flight. My eyebrows raised involuntarily and the Kaldar nodded. "I see it may be important. I had no idea I was selected for an important task, but within the case is a master instrument of such quality and craftsmanship that even the gnomes admire it.
He inclined his head in a seated bow and stood, gathering the case and instrument and gently depositing them in his backpack. He hoisted it lightly to his shoulder and took his leave turning in the doorway. "I thought it just a strange coincidence, but now I see it is the gods…my name, Dreoilin Dearg, in my language it means Bloody Wren.