Storyteller's note: This pamphlet is brought before Gryff Galan by Mr Hawkins. He has confiscated it from one of the captured marines, and as he says, "I thought you might be interested, Sir." The six page print is on coarse paper, and according to the date, is no more than a week old. The name of the printer is not given, but it comes from Crondor.
The Unfinished Tale of Captain Tomas Parlay, Esq. as delivered to myself, his printer. Gentlemen, I fear that this time the daring adventurer has got himself into a pickle of which kind no one can survive. I fear, esteemed readers, that this is the last we will ever hear from the good Captain.
Now, without further ado, I have the honour to present to you~
The Hunt for the Lost Treasure of the Elven Prince
by Captain Tomas Parlay, Esq.
As the astute reader may remember from my Adventure of the Phønix Feather(1), I found a map in the study of the deranged Dr. Mörbius. Again, fortune favoured me, for it was this that eventually saved me from a less than desirable fate.
My last adventure, the Curse of the Black Dancer(2), had me marooned in a shadowy realm. To be precise, the Black Dancer herself left me, all but decently attired, I am ashamed to say, adrift on a far-away river. A lesser man may have lost hope, but yours truly have been pickled more spicy than this before.
I will not bore you, gentle reader, with all the specifics surrounding the start of this adventure. Suffice it to say that when a ship emerged from the mists, I quickly put my wits and charms to good use. The ship's captain, a fine and dashing rogue, and his compannions, a party of a no less roguish disposition than their leader, agreed not only to save me from my predicament, but also to fund my next venture.
Thus it was that I found myself in command of a group, composed of as shady looking characters as you could imagine, in a small vessel heading for a deserted strip of land in northern Pendrell. Of my compannions I will say but a little at this time; one will be hard pressed to produce a more peculiar party. Believe me when I say that I found myself in the company of as well a wizard, a witch, two giants and a fallen paladin.
Under my expert leadership, our expedition came to a good start, as we landed on a moonlit, rocky beach, some miles south of Everkirk. Well heeled with gold from my past exploits, I set out shortly to procure steeds for the journey, bidding my fellows to wait lest they attract unwanted attention.
Coming up on Everkirk as the brazen sun of Pendrell in Novium rose majestically from its nocturnal slumber, I quickly spotted the fellow I sought, the portly postkeeper, enjoying his tea on a bench. With my razor-sharp wit, I rapidly dazzled him with compliments and anecdotes from a world this sedade individual hardly knew existed.
He became so impressed with my persona that he invited me in for a drink while we conducted our business. This was were I first saw the postkeeper's daughter. She was as angelic as you could imagine, my dear reader, with auburn hair flowing around her alabaster face. Her shapes, fully blossomed, could have led a presbyter into sinful thought, and she carried herself with a grace a queen would have envied her. Naturally, she could not take her eyes off me while she served her father and his guest.
The postkeeper, in the manner of all rotund merchants, drove a hard bargain for the horses, but for one who has haggled with a Hannuman sultan(3), this rural coin-clinker had to draw the shortest straw. And so it was that I returned to my party with horses, most of my currency, and a kiss from the postkeeper's daughter.
Even with the steeds, the journey inland was slow, for we had to follow the smaller paths, and avoid people as much as possible. Why? you may ask. Even one as silver-tongued as myself would find it difficult to explain the two giants who effortlessly loped beside our mounts. When we there was no choice but to ride through a hamlet or cross a bridge, the two looming, granite-muscled warriors of myth trekked around, meeting up with us on the other side.
Now I feel I owe you, my reader, some detail of the quest we were on. The map I had brought was not a map per see. Rather, it was description of the place where the Elven Prince Gilvandar had hidden the greatest treasure of his house before the last battle for Pendrell. The place was between two trees, under two stars, below the vaxing moon of Emmeroch.
The wizard, a mad Aragonian, had been wracking his head over this description repeatedly since we set out on this adventure, and had grown sullen with his lack of progress. It was only when I remembered my encounter with the talking staff(4) that I was able to solve the puzzle.
Relying on my uncanny memory of maps, I guided my compannions further north, over moors and through valleys, past the vast ruins of the Blackwall, and into the empty lands across the border.
Two days into the wilderness, late in the evening, we were attacked. We had set up camp and eaten a brace of rabbits I had shot. One of the giants was on watch when I heard the telltale sound of a rock being pushed from its place by a careless foot. I quickly glanced at my fellows, and seeing that most of them were fast asleep I drew my sword.
Not a moment too soon, for just as my Corobani blade cleared its scabbard they attacked. I called out to my friends, who stirred rapidly from their slumber, and I attacked (for is not a good offense the best defense?). The bandits were a dirty and dishelved lot, their breath reeked of rotting teeth and sour wine, and their beards were knotted and greasy; one had the skull of a small animal fastened to his.
Again my study under the blind swordsmaster(5) served me well, for while my companions struggled to get their bearings I was locked in mortal combat with three of the ugly brutes. Their technique was no less shabby than their demeanor, and I proved to be more than what they bargained for. Still, they had numbers on us. Luckily I had heard heard the brigands before they could spring their trap, and I was able to hold the line while my allies mustered.
The battle soon turned when the giants got their bearings, and when the blackguards found us a harder nut to crack than they had bargained for, they fled. Five of their number lay dead on the ground, and none of us had been hurt. My fellow adventurers were all shaken by the untimely attack, and few of them got much sleep that night. They all thanked me profusely, but I would hear nought of it - is not the cameraderie shared by heroes on a quest reward enough?
The next two days took us West into the foothills of the Stormcrow Mountains. The gentle slopes were covered in the multi-coloured sheddings of the old decidous forest, for here Autumn reigned. The jagged peaks of the primordial range were covered in eternal snow, and more than one river had to be crossed; running wild with icy water from the ancient fields of snow and ice that lay in the bossom of the mountains.
At last we arrived at the Fir'an Dael Plateu. According to the book I took from Dr Mörbius, the plateu was the last camp of the elves before they rode to their final battle. Here the last elves of their House had gathered under the two stars, below the vaxing moon of Emmeroch, to sing their own end. Here Prince Gilvandar burried the greatest treasure of his House between the two trees so that the humans would not get it. Here the elves had feasted and danced through the autumn night. Then they had ridden into legend. I would be lying if I said that we weren't touched by the history of the place.
While we pitched camp, the Aragonian wizard consulted the stars and found that Emmeroch would be upon us in two days. The site was ideal, with a good view of the surrounding area, plenty of game, and the freshest, sweatest water in a stream cutting accross the plateu.
We were bothered by neither man, monster, nor beast, and we spent the two days scouting and hunting. In the evenings, one of the giants sang enchanting ballads of forgotten days, and we were very content.
On the second evening, returning from a hunt with two fat fetterhens, I found the trees; two ancient, great weirwoods, old already when Macharius crossed the Inner Sea. Directly above them, the two bright stars that form the eyes of the Sentinel gazed down upon us. There was a resonance about the place that reminded me of the entrance to the Cavern of the Three (6). I returned to the camp, and the following day we prepared for the climax of our adventure. Several of my compannions were, understandably, a little nervous, but I managed to calm their nerves with soothing words and encouraging comments.
Here we have no further information about the Captain or his companions. Our thoughts are with them, and may it give them strength.
Other Adventures by Captain Parlay, Esq.:
(1) The Adventure of the Phønix Feather (2) The Curse of the Black Dancer (3) The Sands of Destiny (4) The Maid and the Talking Staff (5) The Master of the Sword (6) The Cavern of the Three