I hope you have fun reading about Mary Windfiddle, I have a lot of fun writing about her and her friends.
Last time, our trio made a few visits around the country. They spent some time in the fortress they somehow got to own after their Belfast adventures; visited the laboratory that was Mary’s first mission from her Patron; and finally witnessed the growing of Rupert’s tavern in Meraket. Now they’re finally nearing Mary’s hometown – the wonderful Frinkeltong.
Mary and her friends travelled for about a week more, riding along the Trading route with its well maintained roads. They passed by the site of their first adventure, where the Carrion Crawler had attacked Lord Dwendel’s wagons. A repairment crew from the Trading guild was stationed there. They had filled up the tunnel and were preparing to re-pave the road above it.
All in all, it was a smooth ride. Wheat fields surrounded them on all sides, promising bountiful harvest in a few months. Lake Dunlain shone between Pamagos and Frinkeltong, small fishing boats and transport vessels breaking its smooth surface. People passed them by – traders, nomads and settlers – and many of them were curious about the tree dome when the trio had it up. Some tried to look through the branches, others attempted to get inside, but the magic was strong and denied them entrance.
The party reached Frinkeltong in the middle of one afternoon. Mary smiled, seeing her home city for the first time after so much time of being away. The huge hill was the same, with all the little houses perched on it, all different in style, material and colors.
The city walls were built out of, well, everything. This was kind of a theme around there. Whenever a construction somewhere in the city came to an end, all excess material was reorganized and redistributed to other parts that needed fixing or finishing. Frinkeltong was a place of reusing stuff and keeping waste to a minimum.
When they reached the city gate, they were stopped by a very bored young gnome in a guard’s uniform. He asked if they carried anything dangerous or worth declaring. Mary thought about the Necklace of Fireballs, and the Chain Lightning scroll, and also Aurum’s ‘herbs’, but she kept quiet and left the bard work his magic (no real magic was needed – he was just really persuasive).
They passed the guards and soon were surrounded by decorations. Paper garlands hung from every building and lamp post, flowers spread all around, and everywhere, people had put up little ornaments and trinkets to show off their home's beauty.
“Is there a carnival coming up?” Bruno asked, looking around.
“No, why?” Mary said.
“All the decor?”
“Oh!” she smiled as if just noticing. “That’s how it always is.”
“Always?” But why?”
Mary looked at a small clock tower. It was around 4 PM.
“Oh, you’ll see… A few more hours and it’ll begin.”
“But don’t we need to know what’s going to begin? To be prepared, you know, culturally.”
“Oh, don’t worry about it” Mary shrugged. “I’m sure Aurum will do just fine. We’ll follow his lead.”
“We?” Bruno said. “You mean to say that you won’t ‘do just fine’?”
“Oh, nooo!” Mary laughed. “Never did, never will.”
But she didn’t say anything about the actual event. She wanted to surprise her friends.
They could see gnomes bustling all around. Some were carrying things, others were running errands, and everyone seemed to be in a hurry to finish their day’s work. A few people recognized her and waved while passing by, a few stopped to say ‘hello’, but everyone glared at Aurum with animosity.
“Why do they do that?” he asked while waving and smiling at a passing woman who gave him the stink-eye.
“Oh, it’s probably because you’re too tall,” Mary said. She was hunched over ever since they’d entered the streets, a habit from her teenage years when she’d started outgrowing the gnomes and was ridiculed for it. “They don’t like tall people here. They think we are suspicious.”
Aurum crossed his arms. He probably didn't consider himself 'suspicious'.
Suddenly, a bell rang behind them and made them jump out of the way. A huge thing passed them by. It was an eighteen-foot-long carriage, horseless and moving on rails embedded in the street itself. Something mechanical hummed in the back, like a mysterious beast or a secret power source. People--mostly older and more frail-looking--were riding inside the carriage, sitting on small chairs and gazing at the city around them.
“Woah!” Aurum exclaimed. “What is that?!”
Mary had no idea. Frinkeltong didn’t have such devices when she’d left two months ago. She stopped a passerby and asked them about it. It turned out this was the City Engineers’ newest invention. They called it a ‘tram’ and were currently installing rails in the more distant neighbourhoods so that people had more access around the city.
"A mechanical wonder!" Bruno gasped and looked at it with eyes full of excitement.
So! How do you like Frinkeltong? Our DM did such a great job with the city and the atmosphere inside! I love it!
See you next time when we’re finally going to meet Mary’s family!!!
Take care and be well!
(Also, here's a link to the Chapter Guide and the Glossary for the series. You're welcome!)