Chapter 5 - Score One for Saris (A Celebration Fit for Heroes)

After collecting all the Redcap teeth, the heroes headed back to Port Blackwell, and informed Governess Juliana Terwall of their success. She was most pleased and order extra supplies be transferred to the two ship free of charge.

“That was an amazing strike,” Adameus said to Saris.

“Naturally,” Saris replied. “What about that leap? Did you see that? That was pretty spectacular, too.”

Adameus thought a moment, “Oh, yeah, that was pretty good. An amazing leap. Of course, you didn’t actually clear the river. If your leap had ended with you high and dry on the other side with Redcap face in your heel, now THAT would have been something.”

Before Saris could retort, Ornrik stopped short, “Somebody has accessed the ship without speaking the code word.”

“Just now?” Viselys asked.

Ornrik looked a bit abashed, “Well, no, it could have been any time between the time we passed this point going the other way and now. It’s complicated. It has to do with the area of effect and range and…”

“So, what you’re saying,” Viselys interrupted, “is that the alarm could have been sounding for as much as an hour”

Ornrik paused then nodded reluctantly.

“And we’re about a mile from the boat,” Viselys continued. “Even if we run, it would take us about 15 minutes.”

“There seems to be a bit of a flaw in this plan,” Adameus mumbled.

Independent of Adameus’ sour grapes, it was still clear that there was no sense in rushing. In fact, as they passed through the town, Viselys took the opportunity to inform Governess Juliana of all that had transpired. Adameus showed her the teeth, noting that this was, literally, all that was left of the creatures. She counted the teeth and nodded, impressed.

Amadeus, may I hold on to those?” Ornrik requested.

With an annoyed look, he turned to the dwarf, “You mean ADAMEUS?” and he poured the teeth out into his hands.

The governess mayor gushed obsequiously with gratitude, and Viselys offered 400 gold to be distributed amongst the families that had lost loved ones to the Redcaps.

“Can we go investigate the ship now?” Ornrik asked impatiently.

“Yeah, maybe there’s something else I can kill,” Saris seemed anxious.

Adameus, Diamondback, and Skald all began towards the ship, but Viselys said, “You don’t need all of us to search the ship. I’m going to stay here,” and he turned to the governess with a smile.

Diamondback looked at Viselys and then at the rest of the party, uncertain what to do. She caught Adameus’ gaze as he slightly rolled his eyes and shrugged before turning to stay with the group. She decided that, if it was “six of one, half a dozen of the other,” she’d just stay with Viselys.

The search of the ship turned up nothing. Everyone was eager to get back to town and enjoy the festivities. Ornrik, however, stayed on board to identify the new magical items obtained in the Redcap lair.

Back at the pub, Viselys was receiving many accolades as he recounted the story of the battle. By the time the rest of the band of heroes arrived, the makings of a real party were evident. Saris and Adameus went to the bar and ordered up drinks.

“I’ll have a beer. Baby it down by about half, will ya?” Adameus requested. Frankly, if he had trusted the water, he would have just gone with that, but he decided on the safer alternative. He opened his belt pouch to pull out a coin.

“Ah, none of that now. Your money’s no good here today. You lot are guests – and heroes to boot!”

Saris raised his eyebrows as he hefted his drink, “You might live to regret that, but I won’t argue.”

Adameus turned and lifted his glass with Saris. He then stopped and examined him.

“What?!” Saris asked.

He shook his head, “I’m not sure. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but you look different. I mean, you haven’t looked right since we left Sasserine.”

“You’re one to talk.” Saris took a drink, “Ah, it’s all in your head. You’ll see, by the time we reach the next port.”

Then, Saris’ attention was redirected by a now-familiar tug at his elbow. It was Gidrick.

“Hey, I heard you killed all those creatures that have been attacking the town and there’s barely a scratch on you and all that was left of them was teeth and you killed their king with one blow through the heart…”

“Yeah, there was blood everywhere, kid,” Saris said as he reached for his drink.

That was all the time Gidrick needed to take a breath, “Will you show me how to fight?”

“Go away, kid. You bother me,” Saris was saying just as Gidrick’s mom arrived.

“Come on, boy, leave the man alone. What is wrong with you? You never listen.” She took him by the arm and dragged him away.

Adameus stepped in to mitigate matters, “I know what’s wrong with him, miss. Look!” He reached to the side of the boy’s head and, with a sleight of hand trick, made it seem he was plucking a gold piece from his ear – the same coin he had taken out intending to pay for his drink.

“Wow!! How did you do that?!” Gidrick asked.

“Just like this,” Adameus said with a flair as he moved his hands quickly making it appear that the coin had disappeared into thin air. He smiled up at Gidrick’s mother, reassuring her that the boy was not, in any way, a bother to him, but rather a welcomed audience. He performed for the boy for about a half hour, holding his attention the whole time. He then demonstrated to the boy how the coin behind the ear trick was done and the fine art of “palming.”

“Now, you’re going to have to practice. Don’t try doing this trick for anyone else until you can do it without thinking about it. Show me, and when I say your ready, you can amaze all your friends.”

“Gee, thanks!” and Gidrick would have run off straight away if Adameus hadn’t stopped him.

“Hold up there, son. You forgetting something?” The boy stopped and looked back, confused. Adameus held out the coin to him, “You’ll need this to practice with. It did, after all, come from YOUR ear.”

There was much revelry that night. Lirith asked Adameus to dance, which prompted Viselys to invite the governess to the dance floor. Lirith became a bit grabby with Adameus, but he used all his skill to keep her at a respectable distance while not appearing to have ants in his pants.

“My, you are good with your hands, aren’t you?” she quipped.

“I like to think so,” he replied. He left it at that.

A mischievous idea crossed Adameus’ mind. He led Lirith closer to the other dancing couple, began to spin her, and, pivoting himself, traded partners with Viselys.

“…and that’s when I decided to begin a political career. I figured, after all, if he could do it, I could do it. Then came the redesign of the…” the governess didn’t even seem to notice the switch.

While she continued to speak, Adameus caught Viselys’ gaze as he was looking confused. Adameus smiled a mischievous smile and gave him a thumbs-up.

When that song had ended, Adameus asked Diamondback to dance. She jumped up at the invitation.

“Hey, I’m not real good, so any help you can give me… just help me not look stupid?” he begged as the next tune began.

Luckily, they had been practicing tumbling together, so Adameus was able to follow her lead fairly well. He even managed to do a few relatively impressive gymnastics that helped make the performance seem not so one-sided. The audience was impressed (mostly with Diamondback).

Ornrik arrived during the dance and was able to catch a good portion of it. He greeted Adameus as he moved to have a seat, “That was very good.”

“Hey, thanks.”

The dwarf leaned closer, “Are you staying on the ship tonight?”

“Nah,” Adameus shook his head, “We’re stuck on that thing for weeks at a time. I’m taking a room with Viselys and Diamondback.”

“Then take a walk with me for a moment,” Ornrik said as he stood and headed towards the entrance.

Adameus couldn’t imagine what could be up, but he certainly respected discretion, so he followed nonchalantly.

Outside, away from everyone else, Ornrik handed Adameus a pair of gloves, “These are for you.”

Adameus took them and examined them closely. “Um, thanks?” he said, a bit uncomfortably.

“They’re magic,” Ornrik explained, “Gloves of Swimming and Climbing.”

As if a light had gone on, Adameus smiled, “Ooh, nice! Thanks!”

“So, can I have the Ring of Swimming back?” he asked.

Adameus looked at his hand and realized he still had it. “Oh, of course!”

Returning to the pub, Ornrik likewise gave a pair of boots to Viselys. Then he returned to the ship and set up a hammock near the prow while the rest of the party began breaking up. Saris was not far behind Ornrik.

* * * * *

Viselys was tired and eager for sleep in a firm, stationary bed. Adameus evaluated the room as he locked the door. “Do you think one of us should keep guard?”

Viselys sat on his bunk and pulled off his boots, “Why? The door’s locked and we’re inside a fort.”

Adameus glanced at Diamondback and was about to say something in the Cant, but instead said to Viselys, “Well, maybe I can do something about this open window. Rig up a crude alarm or something? Just to be on the safe side?”

Viselys reached into his backpack, “I have an empty potion bottle. Will that help?”

Adameus’ eyes popped as an idea sprang to him. He took the bottle, a bit of wire, some twine, and his tools. He licked his fingers and went to work on a simple but elegant little trip line that would drop the bottle with a crash if anyone tried to sneak in through the window. Satisfied, he climbed into his bunk … and waited…

It hadn’t been quite a half hour before he heard Viselys’ breathing change and he knew he was asleep. He snuck to the door, unlocked it and slipped out into the hall, pulling the door to behind him, but not closing it all the way. He then moved silently downstairs to the kitchen and asked for a bowl of warm water, which a servant provided him. Sneaking back upstairs, he placed the bowl next to Viselys’ bed and then went to lock the door. Viselys groaned, but didn’t wake. Diamondback, on the other hand, awoke with a start. She gasped.

Adameus’ eyes went wide and he put his finger to his lips in the ‘hush’ sign, not obscuring the huge grin on his face. Her hands went to her mouth to stifle herself. Viselys groaned again and shifted, but a moment later, his breathing clearly indicated he’d settled back to sleep.

Taking a deep breath, Adameus checked the water temperature, then, as delicately as possible, he placed Viselys’ hand in the bowl. It didn’t work, though. This action woke Viselys. Faster and quieter than one might think possible, Adameus was in his bunk, under the covers.

“Huh?! What’s going on?!” Viselys sat up, and looked down at the water and his wet hand.

Adameus feigned waking, “What is it? What?” Diamondback giggled.

Viselys looked at Diamondback, then at Adameus, down at the water bowl, then back at them. They pointed at each other. Viselys, uncertain which of these two goofs had been trying to prank him, just nodded, “Okay, you two. Enough. Go to sleep.”

* * * * *

It was about three quarters of an hour after the party had wound down – just enough time for Ornrik to start to doze – when the alarm in his head woke him with a start. He leapt to his feet and called for Saris. Both relaxed a bit when they saw that it was Captain Amella Venkalli. She was three sheets to the wind and stumbling; no wonder she had forgotten to say the password.

Saris leapt to her side, “Woe, easy there, Amella. I got you.” She swung her arms around his neck. Looking back at Ornrik, he said, “I’ll see her to her cabin,” and he led her down to her quarters. He laid her in her bed and pulled off her boots as they, one by one, hit the floor. Then, Amella sat up in the bed, kissed him, and removed her blouse. Soon too, did his own clothes hit the floor…..

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