"It was nothing, really,” I bragged. “All in a day's work for a crafter."
My daughter Rosemarie tells me that I get a little full of myself sometimes. I might have gone a little too far this time, because as my thoughts started to turn to fishing and king prawn, Jones brought me back to reality.
"Really, thanks again for the help, I know I couldn't have done it anyway!” the little halfling told me. “I tell you what though, Borbin's been talking with Hailena Hoss, who trains the native essarr hawks. She dropped one of them off this morning, Borbin was planning to ask one of the adventurers to release it near Karnor's Castle to do some surveillance."
"And ...?" I asked.
"Well, the thing is, they're all still busy killing drolvargs, you'd think they're enjoying it or something,” Jones said, then paused like he was steeling himself up to ask another favor. He was. “So I was thinking, you're clearly resourceful and fast moving, I'm sure you could do it just as well. Plus, you're here! Just sneak up close to the castle and release the hawk, it's trained to do the rest."
Fast moving? I know the ranger training I received before the accident helps hide my limp, but not so much that it’s not noticeable. He must be getting desperate. "And where exactly is this castle?" I asked.
"You can just about see it from here,” the little official said, pointing to the north-east. “Head north between the hills and the river till you pass the ruins, then turn east, you should see it from there easily enough."
"Well, I'll give it a try!" I told him, sounding a lot more confident that I felt. Rosemarie did warn me about entering the Dreadlands, and the directions sounded like I’d be coming real close.
Jones handed me the essarr hawk. "It'll be a bit dangerous for you I'm afraid,” Jones began, “but since Borbin has all the adventurers busy collecting more fangs, I don't think we want to wait around for them to get back. I do appreciate your help, and good luck!"
"Thank you," I told the halfling and started off down the path.
I headed north down the path past the ruins almost to the mountains when I looked to the east. Sure enough, I could see a castle on a hill through the trees. But as I walked east getting closer to the river I could see why Jones told me this was dangerous. On the other side were drolvargs lining the banks and I didn’t like what I saw in the water. The only way across looked like a fallen pillar that fell across the river where it feeds into Ryjesium Lake. To get to it required getting close to the ruins, which I could see were occupied by some unfriendly-looking skeletons.
By staying on the riverbank I was able to avoid the skeletons and stopped halfway across the makeshift bridge. Looking back, it was a pretty stupid thing to do because I didn’t know what might happen by, but I used the position to observe the drolvargs as they patrolled around the castle. Fortunately the drolvargs were even dumber than I was being at the moment, as after a couple of minutes I could discern their patrol paths. I snuck through the route I had picked out and released the hawk near the castle. I then snuck back through the drolvarg lines and returned to the docks of Dreg’s Landing.
“Hail, Jones,” I said as I reached his usual duty post.
"Did you release the essarr hawk?" he asked.
"Yes, I did," I replied.
"Oh, great!” the halfling exclaimed. “Well done, I hope it wasn't too dangerous for you. Erm... say ...” Jones continued with one of those pauses I was coming to associate with another request. “I don't suppose you happen to know anything about mountain giant metalsmithing?"
I’m a woodworker, not an armorer or a weaponsmith, but I do work with small amounts of metal in my craft. "Er ... what exactly about it?"
Jones explained, "The mountain giants have been at war with the drolvargs for a long time. Borbin has been trying to negotiate with the giants to help us fighting the drolvargs, and it looks as if he might finally be making some progress. Apparently they use some kind of magically imbued ore to forge special weapons that give their fighters an edge in combat. If we can provide them with enough ore, I think the deal will be sealed."
I was afraid of where this conversation was going. Making friends with the local authorities is good for business. Getting killed isn’t. "And where do I come in?" I asked.
"Well, seeing how you did such a good job with those arrows, I was hoping you could make up some imbued ore for us to trade,” Jones said. “What do you think?"
"I'll give it a try," I told the little official, sounding more confident that I felt. I’m pretty good at that, if I do say so myself. Raising three kids gave me a lot of practice.
"Thanks, you're a lifesaver!” Jones exclaimed, his smile widening. “And don't worry, we'll send some burly axe-wielding type out to actually do the trade, just bring it back here when you're done."
"I'll get right on it," I replied.
My leg was still aching from all the sneaking around I did around Kanor’s Castle, but I figured I’d better make the ore before those axe-wielding types left and Jones figured that I should be the one to deliver the chest. So back to the forge and those price-gouging merchants I went to make a chestfull of imbued ore. I really need to go back and thank Kezlack Cogturner for all the lessons he gave me when I started out my career in Wayfarer's Stockpilers.
When I finished I picked up the chest and headed to drop off this last request to Jones. I had some serious fishing to do!
To be continued…
EQ2 Tradeskill Epic: Yonger's Vacation
EQ2 Tradeskill Epic: Working for Teren's Grasp
EQ2 Tradeskill Epic: Yonger Gets a Sokokar
EQ2 Tradeskill Epic: New Lands, New Profits