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May 18 2021 -

Galthen and the Lost Queen

althen sighed. He had hoped to have acquired more pertinent information by now about that which he sought. His quest for magical artefacts had brought him here, to Bounac, a yet fledgling settlement which had the markings of becoming at least a decent town at some point, should its development continue unhindered. For now, a lot of the buildings which were to stand here one day were but a figment of an architect's imagination. However, the town's pub was already standing, as nary a thing would get done without the help of some fresh brew to ease the reality of living on this rock. Galthen had held off on frequenting the place as from his experience, such an establishment would certainly provide one with information, though the veracity of claims made under the influence of ale was often quite dubious. Nevertheless, he was out of options by now.

A quiet atmosphere greeted him as he entered – not entirely unsurprising, considering that the sun stood high outside. However, a few patrons were already wetting their gullet at the bar.

"What can I get you, sir?"

The innkeeper kept polishing his glass as he addressed the seasoned knight.

"A bit of knowledge would gladden me the most, to be honest."

"Not sure you're in the right place for that. You won't even find a book in here."

"I've seen enough of those lately, trust me. Alas, most of the wisdom in the world has not been written down and remains inside the heads of beings like you and I."

"Ah, very well then, I might help with that after all. You'd have to purchase something first though – I've still got a business to run, you see."

Galthen reached into his pocket and put a few gold coins on the counter.

"Will that do?"

The innkeeper slightly raised an eyebrow.

"For that kind of money, I'll tell you my family secrets if you wish. Well, at least those on my father's side."

"That won't be necessary. Have you heard anything about a magical artefact located here?"

"Magical artefact? Can't say that I have, sorry."

As Galthen moved his hand towards the coins, he hastened to add to this answer.

"But I've heard other things, you see. There's a noble woman missing, who just up and left one day, leaving behind her husband and her newborn daughter. They say she behaved a bit odd before she left, a few days before it happened, but that might just be talk, now that she's gone. That's not all though. Kesar Etzel ordered his men to seal the entrance to the lower parts of the fortress. Nobody knows exactly why, but something must have terrified him, something which they found down there. They say there's a vast network of tunnels underneath Bounac, and who knows what stalks those dark places."

The knight paused for a moment and pondered what he had just heard.

"Where did that noblewoman live, and where is her husband now?"

"He still lives there. It's just down the road, the third house on the right."

"You have my thanks."

Galthen put another coin before the inkeeper and left the tavern. It did not seem that he was any closer to the artefact he was looking for, and instead had found new questions he certainly had not sought. Questions which needed answering...