Gaze still riveted to your armour, he holds a hand out to examine your sword, but doesn’t seem too fazed by it despite its special material. He offers you a scant 30 gold for it, but shrugs at Melody’s expression and goes back to look over the fine suit of armour.
With an off-hand promise to send anyone interested in dungeon delving Bertha’s way, Vandrin leaves you to attend his business. Wandering back towards the tavern, you find an area littered with tents ready for the evening; the town is littered with them, and although this collection is rather large there are enough spaces for you to set up your own and, with Goldthorn keeping an eye out for trouble, you have a relaxing reverie for several hours.
By the time you emerge, the clouds heralding the raining are in the process of dispersing. You have no problems entering the tavern early, with Bertha setting up your area swiftly. She seems slightly harried, and the promised evening meal takes a fair while to arrive between her running between the three groups of overnight patrons, the serving window and the kitchens in a seemingly endless dance of work. Despite this, you find yourself pleasantly unharried, and the night passes easily as you scribe yourself a scroll of Fist of Stone by the candlelight.
After an uneventful evening, you make your way to the stone building at the centre of the Mawr. The same three guards sit around the entrance pretending to sit vigil, and after you express your desire to pay tax they wave you in with a bored expression. You aren’t kept waiting long before a short, jumpy worm of a man introduces himself as Catchpole August; with wan skin and deep bags under his eyes, he constantly fidgets as he pours through a thick tome, before requesting eleven gold and six silver which you hand over without fuss. He scurries off before you do, leaving you to your own devices as you trail out of the building. It doesn’t escape your notice that, other than the three guards outside and the catchpole himself, you saw nobody else within the building during your short visit.
Your next stop is to the healer for Goldthorn’s appointment. Healer Hurst doesn’t spend too long examining her eye before pronouncing her suitably recovered. “One final poultice, to be kept on for two days. She’s be right as rain.” During the examination, you notice Torridin staring at you intently after bringing Goldthorn a potion to drink, but he slips away before you get a chance to confront him.
As you leave, Healer Hurst informs you that the cartographer visited her again, and gives you directions to their camp. It isn’t difficult to find, and after a quick conversation about the difficulty mapping the world (especially after King Thesmir put heavy restrictions on the crafting and distributing of them), he offers you a basic map of Ryvauld for 40 gp.
You fall into a comfortable routine for the rest of your week: Staying up all night studying and scribing, exploring the town and the stalls during the day as you familiarise yourself with these strange people and anybody of interest, before retiring to your tent during the afternoon for a swift reverie. The week passes quickly, and you manage to transcribe Grease, Identify and Magic Missiles into your spellbook; the spell Mount eludes you, however, as the description refers to a concept called ‘unbeing’, of which you have not yet come across. Still, unbuoyed by this, you swiftly amass yourself a collection of scrolls to pad out your cases.
As you conclude your penultimate scroll on your penultimate morning, you quietly wake Goldthorn and prepare to leave to explore the town once again. Bertha is once again up before dawn, cleaning tankards beside the window and cleaning the bar itself. Over the course of the last week you’ve observed dark shadows grow beneath her eyes. She offers you a tired wave as she stifles a yawn.