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    The Silver Wolf-A Light In The Dark: Chapter Four: The City Narrows
    Posted on Wed, August 30, 2017 by LordCeb
    CruelSummerLord writes "The Green Dragon Inn was where many of her old friends tended to congregate. While the Wizard’s Hat was one of the best-kept secrets in Greyhawk’s river quarter, the Green Dragon Inn was one of the river quarter’s most notorious hangouts. The Green Dragon Inn’s clientele was tough and crude, made up of thieves, mercenaries, dockworkers, common tradesmen, and other lower-born folk both honest and dishonest.


    Chapter Four

    The City Narrows

    Airk and Revafour were astonished by how well Amyalla seemed to know her way around Greyhawk. She had led them into the city through the Duke’s Gate, and taken them through the city’s wealthier districts. From there, Amyalla led her companions south through the internal Garden Gate into a district she called Greyhawk’s river quarter.

    As Airk and Revafour looked around them, it didn’t take them long to understand why Amyalla’s people called Greyhawk the ‘Gateway to Everywhere’. The city’s streets were thronged with more kinds of people than Airk and Revafour had ever seen. They saw fur-clad Frost Barbarians, golden-haired elves dressed in the multicolored robes of Celenese wizards, doughty warriors bearing the distinctive shields of the Knights of the Watch, Baklunish merchants carrying exotic goods from Ket, independent Flan foresters and hunters, even the odd orc and goblin, among others. All these visitors mingled easily among the native Greyhawkers, who seemed to welcome them all, whatever their background.

    Airk and Revafour were utterly bewildered, although Amyalla didn’t seem the least bit fazed by it.

     “A lot of first-time visitors react this way,” Amyalla smiled, her lips turned up in amusement as she noticed her friends’ reactions. “Matters of race and culture don’t matter much to most Greyhawkers. The only thing they care about is money.”

    “So it’s a city of thieves,” Revafour muttered.

    “Some are thieves,” Amyalla corrected him, “but most are just rather greedy merchants and craftspeople. You’ve both heard tales of the Wild Coast, I take it?”

    The sour looks on Airk’s and Revafour’s faces confirmed to Amyalla that they had heard of the Wild Coast, and also confirmed to her what they thought of the place.

    “Now that’s a place of scoundrels and rapscallions,” Amyalla laughed. “But here’s an example of the better side of Greyhawk,” she grinned as they stopped in front of a large, homey-looking building. Airk and Revafour saw a sign hanging above the building’s door, identifying the place as the Wizard’s Hat Inn. Amyalla paid the sign no notice, pushing the inn’s door open with the ease of someone who had visited the place many times before. Smiling, she gestured for Airk and Revafour to join her.

    Despite the raucous activity going on outside, the Wizard’s Hat Inn was comparatively calm and peaceful, an island of tranquility in the chaos of Greyhawk. Airk and Revafour glanced around at the clientele, who chatted quietly to one another in low voices. None of them seemed to take much notice of the companions, as Amyalla led her friends up to the bar at the far end. A trim middle aged-woman was tending the bar, and her eyes lit up as she saw Amyalla coming towards her, Airk and Revafour close behind. Grinning, Amyalla leaped up onto one of the barrels lined in front of the bar to serve as stools. Reaching out, she hugged the bartender tightly, embracing her old friend

     “Hello, Dwaven,” Amyalla greeted Dwaven May. “How long has it been?”

    “Too long,” Dwaven smiled back, before turning her attention to Airk and Revafour. “Your companions, I take it?” she asked.

    “Just so,” Amyalla nodded, as she hopped off the barrel and back to the floor.

    “Welcome to Greyhawk,” Dwaven greeted them with a bow. “Is this your first time in the city?”

    “Just so,” Airk nodded. “It’s certainly...vibrant,” he finished, searching for the right word.

    “And noisy,” Revafour added with a half-smile. “Tell me,” he said, glancing up at the menu written out on stone slates set above the bar, “might we have something to eat? I don’t know about you, but I could use a good meal,” he sighed, somewhat weary after all the walking they’d done.

    “You make it sound as if it would a chore,” Dwarven tittered. “Now then, what would it be?”

    Before Airk or Revafour could answer, Amyalla reached into a pouch at her belt and tossed a pile of coins on the bar.

    “We’ll be needing two rooms,” Amyalla said in a businesslike tone, “and whatever these fine gentlemen will want. This should cover whatever they’d like,” she continued.

    Nodding, Dwaven gathered up the coins and placed them in an apron pocket, glancing expectantly at Airk and Revafour. Airk was about to order some stout, when he saw Amyalla turning to leave.

    “Where are you going?” Airk asked in confusion.

    “I’m going to visit some old friends,” Amyalla replied airily, as she headed for the door. “It’s been too long since I’ve been in Greyhawk, and I do so want to catch up with them!”

    Revafour and Airk looked at one another, and then at Dwaven, who only laughed.

    “She’s always been like that,” Dwaven informed them. “Come now, what would you like?”

    “Some of that venison would be good to start,” Revafour nodded, looking up at the menu again, “and some of your potatoes. Is the venison wild, or farm-raised?”

    “Wild, of course,” Dwaven nodded, pleased at the wide smile that crossed Revafour’s face.

    “It does give the meat that distinct flavor, doesn’t it?” Revafour grinned.

    “Why do you think I get it wild?” Dwaven pointed out to him.

    Airk requested a similar meal, and it proved to be exactly what he and Revafour had needed after the long day of walking through the city. Airk washed it down with a tankard of fine stout, although Revafour, predictably, only requested water.

    Amyalla knew that Airk and Revafour would be in good hands at the Wizard`s Hat Inn. Dwaven May was always a dear, although it had been a while before Amyalla had befriended her. Amyalla had come to Greyhawk after she’d fled the Duchy of Urnst, honing her skills among the lower-born rogues of the city. She so wanted to see her old friends again, and so she knew she would have to visit them in their element. Few of them would ever have come to the Wizard’s Hat Inn.

    The Green Dragon Inn was where many of her old friends tended to congregate. While the Wizard’s Hat was one of the best-kept secrets in Greyhawk’s river quarter, the Green Dragon Inn was one of the river quarter’s most notorious hangouts. The Green Dragon Inn’s clientele was tough and crude, made up of thieves, mercenaries, dockworkers, common tradesmen, and other lower-born folk both honest and dishonest.

    Even though it had been several years since Amyalla had last visited the Green Dragon Inn, everything seemed the same. The old rogue Ricard Damaris was tending the bar, and the air was filled with drunken songs, curses and threats. The inn was crowded, despite it being early in the evening. Glancing around, Amyalla didn’t see anyone she recognized, but she wasn’t particularly surprised. She had seen evenings when the Green Dragon Inn might have a hundred people or more customers, with people coming and going all night. 

    Walking up to the bar, Amyalla ordered some beer and roast fowl, before sitting down at a table near the door. Her meal was not fine cuisine, but it was serviceable, at least. Once she had finished, Amyalla, started back to the bar for another mug of beer. Before Amyalla could reach the bar, however, she was surprised to see a burly, huskily-built woman coming towards her.

    Louella was perhaps the only female dockworker in all the city, having her husband Royo’s job to support her family after Royo had lost his arm in a work accident. Now, Royo took care of their children during the day while Louella earned the family a living. Louella regularly came into the Green Dragon Inn to relax after a hard day’s work, as she enjoyed the rough atmosphere she could share with her coworkers.

    “Saint Cuthbert be praised, it really is you!” Louella said brightly as she recognized the halfling. Louella joined Amyalla in walking up to the bar, before they purchased some beer and sat down at Amyalla’s table.

    “Where have you been?” Louella prompted after the two women had toasted and had their first sip.

    “Out and about,” Amyalla replied with a smile. “I wanted to see what the rest of the world was like.”

    “And what brought you back home?” Louella asked.

    “I’ve been seeking some new challenges,” Amyalla replied, “and some new work. I’ve made a few friends who I think can help me with that.”

    “The gods know I could use your help right now,” Louella said, an edge of sadness in her voice, “as could several other people.”

    “Why is that?” Amyalla asked, now slightly alarmed.

    “Sienna’s disappeared,” Louella explained, referring to one of her daughters. “She went to the market to buy some food and just…disappeared a few days ago. I don’t know what happened to her!”

    “Have you told the city watch?” Amyalla asked.

    “They couldn’t find anything,” Louella frowned. “And I’m not the only one who’s suffered this, either-a number of children have disappeared in the river quarter. We’re at our wit’s end as to what to do, Amyalla-what if…what if they…”

    “If they’re still alive, I’ll find them,” Amyalla replied determinedly, her small hand clasping Louella’s larger one. “And my friends will help too,” she added.

    Amyalla had no doubt that Airk and Revafour would agree to help her.

    If they refused for whatever reason, however, she would have no compunctions about abandoning them then and there.

    The next day, Amyalla met Airk and Revafour in one of the rooms they had rented at the Wizard’s Hat Inn, where she told them Louella’s story.

    “Of course we’ll help,” Revafour answered as Airk nodded in agreement. “But how are we going to find whoever’s kidnapping these children?”

    “Leave that to me,” Amyalla smiled as she adjusted the hat on her head. To Airk’s and Revafour’s amazement, Amyalla seemed to grow in size to just under five feet in height, as her red hair turned chestnut brown. Her traveling attire became something rather more immodest, tattered and revealing in all the right places. Gaudy but cheap jewellery hung from her necklace and ears, and her face was decorated with just the right amount of makeup.

    Airk and Revafour just stared askance at Amyalla, who had somehow changed into a human prostitute of the kind so often seen on the streets of Greyhawk, particularly in the lower-class parts of the city. The prostitute simply winked and kissed at them, before adjusting her necklace. She immediately resumed her natural halfling form, laughing at the embarrassment of her male friends.

    “It’s amazing what some men will tell the women they’re with, once they get enough liquor or drugs into them,” Amyalla explained. “And of course, my hat proves its value once again,” she finished with a smile, doffing the enchanted hat she was wearing and taking a mock bow.

    “…So you have a magical hat,” Airk said suspiciously as Revafour only blinked. “What else don’t we know about you?”

    “Never you mind,” Amyalla smiled, as she headed for the door. 

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