There’s something about traveling that always exhausts me more than anything else, including dungeon diving. It’s not the physical exertion. Maybe it’s seeing so many different things, or waking up in a different bed every day. Certainly, on those days we weren’t waking up in a bed, it was even worse.
Waking up in Ekralas was at least familiar, though the bed was different. I hadn’t wanted to pay for two weeks in an inn where I wasn’t staying, so my weapons had been in storage at the guild. That was good, because things had ended being closer to a month.
Currently I didn’t have a single copper piece to my name. My coin purse had been taken away when I was dumped in the dungeon to die. We didn’t exactly have time to search through the pockets of Enok’s party. I wouldn’t have felt guilty about it, even if they weren’t legally bandits or anything, but we wanted to get out of there as soon as possible. Especially since that weird dwarf showed up. He had said to ignore him and hadn’t acted threatening in any way… but that just made him even more suspicious. Well, maybe we would hear something about him today. We were going to go meet with Timmy. We arranged a meeting the night before when we arrived in Ekralas… because it seemed important to do it as soon as possible.
The first person I saw outside was Kantrilla. She looked much healthier- at least, she was no longer pale. Apparently her Luck had also recovered from its abysmal state. She no longer stubbed her toes every few steps or bumped into the corners of furniture. She did walk very carefully, but that was to be expected.
Everyone gathered together, then we went to the guild. The receptionist waved us over, “Ti- the guildmaster said to send you in as soon as you arrived.”
Timmy’s office was big enough to fit all of us- including Socks. That is, it was big enough to fit him, and by proxy it could also fit much more. He was a half-giant after all.
I didn’t like his serious face. Not that he looked angry at us or anything, but it was much nicer to see him smiling like normal. We all took our seats on the chairs he had arranged- except Socks sat on an open section of floor. “It’s good to see you back,” he half smiled for a short moment. “At least some good has come out of this entire mess. Even though this is a matter that should have been handled by the guilds, Escait has issued a complaint about our actions at the border. While we have a stronger position there, the king of Othya isn’t terribly pleased.”
“Sorry…” Kantrilla lowered her head.
Timmy shook his head, “You of all people don’t need to apologize. You’ve done nothing wrong. None of you have… though the guild in Escait might see things differently. However, I know and you know the truth. Even the guild in Escait pretty much knows. Unfortunately, being in the right doesn’t always mean things go well for you. They’re demanding we turn over the criminals who killed one of their rising star clerics.” Timmy shrugged, “They named your party… but they failed to provide a single shred of evidence. That implies they knew about both Kantrilla’s kidnapping and the incident with Llyr. Implies even more strongly than before, anyway.”
“About that…” I couldn’t help but speak, “They probably had my guild card.” I looked at the rest of the party.
Alhorn shrugged, “Our guild cards were left in Kazik’s hands… Eric gave us new ones just in case. They wouldn’t register anything at the border, at least. Though things ended up as they did so it barely mattered.”
“Anyway…” I scratched my head, “My card might have been noted as near theirs when they all died. They might be saving that somehow.”
“I appreciate you saying that but…” Timmy leaned back in his massive chair slightly. “They also claimed all of Enok’s party’s guild cards were stolen to cover up the crime. You didn’t take them, did you?” Timmy looked at me.
I shook my head, “No way. Knowing how guild cards work, that would be kinda stupid.”
“Good. Even so, they made that claim… and even accused us of interfering with their tracking of them. Not that we could.” Timmy shrugged, “I would, if I could and thought it necessary, but we don’t have anything like that. Anyway, we have filed counter charges of fraud and slander against them.”
“How do you file charges against them?” I asked, “Who do you file with? Or is it just… a public statement?”
“With the adventurer’s guild, of course. The guild authority, that is. They’re responsible for managing the various guilds and settling disputes between them. Nobody wants a war between countries… but even more so nobody wants the adventurers from two countries to fight. If that happens, both countries lose, and the monsters win.” Timmy tapped a finger the size of my forearm on the desk, “You may have already met someone from the guild authority. That strange dwarf you told Kazik about. We’d already reported the possibility of corruption in Escait’s guild based on Kaziks prior investigations. We hadn’t heard anything for some time… and someone from there could easily sneak past Kazik’s watch, if they were the right sort. They wouldn’t necessarily show themselves to you… but they wouldn’t necessarily not show themselves. Perhaps it was a test to judge your character. Or perhaps I’m reading too much into things.” Timmy flattened his palm on the table. “Regardless of whether the guild authority will help with this manner, since you are in the right you have my word we will do our utmost to support you.” Timmy leaned forward, almost over us. “Likewise, if you ever do anything actually wrong, I will prosecute you accordingly… no matter how nice you seem to be.” He glanced over at Kantrilla, “though I would be… very surprised if that ever became necessary.” He looked down at a pile of papers on his desk, and picked some up. Then he glanced back at the group, “Oh. Right.” He waved a hand the size of a dinner platter at us, “You can leave, unless you have anything to add. I already have reports from Kazik and Eric, after all.”
“Oh. Right.” Alhorn stood and bowed, “Thank you for your benevolence, guildmaster.”
The rest of us did the same, and even Socks bowed her head and woofed lightly.
Timmy grinned strongly, if briefly. “I am glad to help people such as yourselves… though please try to refrain from needing such help in the next year. Or decade. Or ever.”