Echoes of Invasion: Great Performances | Scene 9

It is getting late in the day, a day full of so many distractions that Tric and Heppa have not done anything they came to South Tower to do… nor have they even made arrangements for where to spend the night. Tric leads them away from the fancy part of town where the House of Light is, hoping to stumble upon the Parting Glass; he is still reluctant to ask anyone for directions to it. The sun plunges lower, and the streets grow darker. The closest they get to what they are looking for are taverns called the Parting Shot and the Shot Glass.

At this point, the elves give up for the day and head to the working-class part of town that Gwaffalyn told them how to reach. In this quarter, they pass various shops, including that of the blacksmith who made Tric’s knife. They settle on a place called the Swamp Hen for dinner and lodging. The main floor is a single large room with long tables and benches, much like how the dwarves feasted in Untdunben. Once again, Tric and Heppa are the only elves present. In fact, they have not seen any non-humans the entire time they have been in the city, not even any dwarves. And there certainly have not been any saurians.

Hepalonia enjoys the experience. She feels no sense of urgency; they can stay here in South Tower until their money runs out, as far as she is concerned. That may not take too much time, though, given their spending today and the shopping opportunities at the upcoming festival. Perhaps tomorrow they can simply pay someone to take them to the Parting Glass so she can leave her message for Kachen. For now, she has no worries and is content to sit in the common room at the Swamp Hen, watching all the humans around them. 

Heppa is quite pleased with the evidence about human aging that she accumulated through the day. She supposes this all means that Connie and Marvin were not just pulling her leg regarding how humans age. Looking around the main room of the Swamp Hen now, she observes the diverse clientele. She pulls out her map to jot down some notes on hair color. “Hopefully those gate guards were right,” she murmurs. “If we meet a human with blue or green hair I’ll need to scratch this out.” Similarly, skin color seems to be on a range of brown to pink, from darker than Tric Manu to Heppa’s own pale shade. Probably nobody has purple skin, she figures, at least not here. Moving to another corner of her parchment, she sketches some diagrams of fencing moves based on their earlier conversation with Gwaffalyn. Heppa is not sure exactly where the city of Weldyn is compared to South Tower, but she adds the few details she has about that spot, as well. 

Tric meanwhile tries to pump the locals for useful information. While he is still curious about Merriver, he does not think it would be a good idea to ask any questions directly about her. Instead he looks around for an older human with scars, hoping to meet a veteran. He finds a likely candidate just a few plates away and asks if the man fought against Mal-Ravanal. It turns out the fellow’s injuries are not at all combat-related. He has worked on the docks his whole life. A crate fell on him, which is how his head and face got so scarred up. Tric commiserates with him over crates, recounting the tale of the tough one that they were not able to save for Mari-Elin the Carter. The evening passes, but he learns nothing useful himself.

The elves retire for the night after dinner, needing no more adventures after their very long day of travel and new sights. The accommodations at the Swamp Hen are completely serviceable, but it is no forest.