The Let's Play Archive

Gothic II

by Sankis

Part 6: Baltram's Package, Akil's Farm

My investigations into the Khorinis Thieves Guild led me into a job with Nagur. I needed to get to Akil's farm and retrieve Baltram's package.

I left the city from the east gate.

Three guards were stationed outside this gate. Two gate guards, and a third man by the crossroads. The third militiaman waved me over as soon as I left.

"Hey, hey. Not so fast. Strolling about alone out here is dangerous. Where do you come from?"

"From the city." I said.

"Well, well. Then what are you doing wandering around out here, so far from the protective walls of the city?"

I had business out here that I didn't feel he needed to know. "What's so dangerous out here?"

"Many things", Mika said. "I bet you'll be yelling for my help after the next bend in the road."

I knew where this was headed. "Just assuming I would fall back on your help. How much would that cost me?"

"I am merely a humble servant of the king and would not enjoy fleecing a helpless little citizen of the realm. But you know, if you put it like that, I wouldn't object to a little financial backing to promote our future business relationship. 10 gold coins should do for starters. What do you think?"

I wasn't exactly drowning in gold but I had enough to spare. The Penal Colony taught me very quickly that simply paying the extortion is better in the long run. "Why not? Here's your 10 gold."

"Terrific. If you need my help, you know where to find me. But people do me a favor, don't come to me with any trifles. I can't stand that, you hear?"

The 10 gold would later turn out to be a good investment.

Just ahead on the eastern road was a small pack of wolves. I withdrew the short bow I'd found earlier and fired a few arrows at the nearest wolf.

I released nearly a dozen arrows in the short time that it took for the wolf to reach me, but only a few hit. Thankfully, the last arrow I launched provided a killing blow.

Two more wolves charged. I sprinted down the road with two wolves in tow. Fortunately, the wolves lost interest in me in favor of two rats. I proceeded down the path.

A sole goblin guarded the dirt road. I dispatched it quickly, sustaining a few bruises in the process.

Just past the goblin, I found the stone staircase that I was to take.

I'd finally found Akil's farm, but it seemed that the farmers had problems of their own. I spied two well armed thugs berating and harassing the peasants.

Approaching Akil, I asked if there was anything wrong. "Is there a problem?"

The farmer looked nervous and frightened. "Eh... no, no... every thing's fine. It... would be better if you left now."

"Are you sure?"

"Eh... yeah, yeah... everything fine. You... eh... I can't talk to you now."

The man on Akil's right turned to me. "Hey, yokel, have you lost your way? Go back to your field and pull up a few turnips."

The other mercenary joined in with a threat of his own. "Whatever it is that brought you here - you had better forget it and hit the road."

Both mercenaries turned back to the farmers. I saw the look in the nearby farmhands eyes. They just needed someone else to make the first move.

I maneuvered behind the nearest mercenary and unclasped my wooden stick.

I swung my club as hard as I could into the mercenary. The farmhands, seeing this, withdrew weapons of their own and began to mob Alvarez.

Within moments Alvarez was dead. I was still holding off Engardo when the farmhands moved onto him. Soon enough he too was dead.

The farm workers quickly got to looting. Akil came over to thank me.

"Thank Innos. I thought my time had run out. My name is Akil. I farm this humble piece of land."

"Who were those people?" I asked.

"Those were mercenaries from Onar's farm. Those bastards don't know anything but plunder and murder. I'd been fearing the worst..." Akil briefly closed his eyes and breathed deep. "Well, thank Innos it didn't come to that. Tell me what I can do for you."

"What about a few gold pieces?"

"I'm afraid I have to disappoint you - we're poor farmers. It's just enough to live on. All I can offer you is a meal. Go to Kati and let her take care of you."

"Have you heard anything about missing citizens?"

"Don't make me laugh. Heard of them? Some of my own people are missing. Tonak and Elbor used to work on my fields until 3 days ago. And I know exactly that they wouldn't up and leave the farm just like that. And yet, they've simply vanished and no one can tell me where they went. If you happen to find out what's become of them, be sure to let me know, will you?"

I nodded. "What did the mercenaries want from you?"

"You don't know that? Onar, the landowner, hired them. They guard his farm and collect the rent for him. That means they go from farm to farm and take whatever they want. And whoever can't pay gets a taste of their steel."

That sounded very interesting and everything but I had no time to really dwell on it. "Baltram sent me. I'm supposed to pick up a shipment for him here."

Akil looked me over and then handed me a package wrapped in a thick, brown material. "So you're his new messenger? Okay, I've already made up the package."

I got what I came for. The bodies of the two mercenaries still littered the ground. They'd been picked pretty clean, but I still managed to find a useful weapon.

While I was here, I decided to take the time to get to know the farmhands. A man named Randolph was nearby tending to a field. I greeted him.

"Everything all right?" I asked.

"Yes, I'm fine. That Alvares has become bolder and bolder lately. Good thing that's over now. What I could use now is a good drop in the tavern."

"You hang out in the tavern?" I didn't learn until later that meant the Dead Harpy, a tavern on the road between the city and Onar's farm.

"That's right. But not recently. I cannot afford going there anymore."

"What exactly is going on there in the tavern?"

"There's gambling there. Two fellows compete against each other. Whoever can hold the most beer wins. In the end, I did nothing but lose, and now I need to make some more money first."

"Who did you go up against?"

"Against Rukhar, that old good-for-nothing. So far he's beaten me every time. But somehow I have the creeping suspicion that the filthy swine has laced my beer with gin every time. I suspect he keeps the gin hidden in that damn chest of his. That lousy scumbag! Somebody ought to sneak some plain water into his chest. Then he could lace my beer all he wants. If only I had enough money to compete against him one more time."

While he was saying all that, I couldn't help but stare at his skin. It became too much and I needed to ask him about it. "You're not from around here, right?"

"I come from the southern isles." That explained it. Randolph continued. "At some point they said they needed people in Khorinis, because of that magic ore. But when I got there, they had this huge barrier in place. And I didn't want to go in there. So I started working in the harbor. Well, the ships stopped coming in and so I went to work for Akil. I've had worse jobs, actually."

Randolph went back to work and I went into the farm house to get my promised meal.

"Akil says you've got a meal for me." I told the woman.

"We've hit some hard times ever since the Barrier fell and the land is no longer safe." Why did she tell m this? I just wanted my food. "Here's a loaf of bread, a little meat, and some water. That's all I can spare, I'm afraid."

I left the farmhouse.

I was almost ready to go back for the town when I saw two men out in the field. I had a need for information so I talked to the nearest one.

"Who are you?" I asked while obnoxiously chewing on my bread.

"My name is Ehnim. I'm one of the field hands. And the half-pint over there is my brother, Egill." That explained the resemblance. "We've been working here on the farm for Akil for several years."

"How's the field work going?"

"Do you want to help? There's another hoe back there. Grab it and then head for the field. You just have to make sure the field raiders don't surprise you. They'll tear your arm right off with one bite."

"Why don't you do anything about the field raiders?"

"I've killed more of them than I can count. The only problem is, they keep coming back."

Ehnim was useless. I went to meet with his brother. "What's up?" I asked.

"It's been a long time since we've seen a stranger on our land who didn't want to skin us. I hope I'm not wrong about you. I'm Egill. And the strange bird over there is my brother Ehnim."

"How's the field work going?"

"Great. If those miserable field raiders weren't constantly destroying our harvest.

"Why don't you do anything about the field raiders?"

"You're joking. Since I've been on this farm, I've killed so many of the beasts that I've lost count. But alas, new ones keep coming."

I nodded. "Your brother tells a similar story."

Egill raised an eyebrow. "Aha. What exactly does he say?"

"That he has also done away with plenty of field raiders."

"What? That loser can't even find his way home by himself. Tell him he shouldn't brag like that."

I shrugged and walked over to Ehnim. "Your brother thinks you're a braggart."

Ehnim scowled. "What? He's actually got the nerve to say that? He'd better watch out or I'll teach him a lesson. Go and tell him that."

I did so. "Ehnim is a bit irritated by this thing." I told Egill.

"He shouldn't puff himself up so much, else I'll tear his head off. Tell him that."

I walked back to Ehnim, tired of the constant back and forth. "I think the two of you should just relax."

"The bastard didn't give in, am I right? I'll tear out his guts. Tell him that."

"Why don't you tell him yourself?"

"I'll do that."

Ehnim shouted angrily and unstrapped his sickle. He ran toward his brother while shouting obscenities. I followed at a safe distance and watched the show, all the while nibbling on my loaf of bread.

Ehnim turned out to be the victor in the end. I'd had enough entertainment at Akil's farm so I decided to head back to town.

It was mid afternoon when I entered town again.

Sarah smiled at me when I passed. "Ah! There you are again."

She'd obviously heard about Canthar, but I took it upon myself to fill in the details. "Canthar was trying to trick you, and to get your booth for himself. But I've turned him over to the city guard."

"Then you've made an enemy of a dangerous man. I've known the bastard for a long time, and he's always wanted my place for himself." The weapon merchant handed me a sheathed cutlass. "Take this weapon as a token of my gratitude."

The sword was a pirate cutlass. It had a long, curved blade but in my current, weakened state it was a bit too much for me to handle. I stowed it in a pack.

I wasn't sure what I was going to do about Baltram's package yet so I spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around and investigating the missing people and other rumors about town.

A drunken militiaman was at the free bar near the inn. It was a perfect opportunity to get some information.

"Hey, what's up?" I greeted the guardsman.

"As long as the paladins don't have any new assignments for me, I can have myself a couple of beers here. What more could you ask?" He said, grinning.

"You're working for the paladins?"

"Yeah, I report to them on the situation in the city. At the moment, everything is quiet."

I remembered Garvell's tales of an imminent orcish invasion. "How are things with the orcs?"

He shrugged. "No reason to worry - we in the city guard and the paladins have everything under control. Go home and let us do our work. We're watching over the town and its citizens."

"Would you like another beer?" I asked. It didn't seem he was lubricated enough to give any real, juicy information.

Rangar gratefully accepted the beer and chugged it down. "Ah - there's nothing better than a cool ale."

"You were about to say something about the orcs..."

"Oh, yeah, right. The orcs are absolutely no threat to the city. They're stuck in the Valley of the Mines. And the pass is held by the paladins. Not even a meatbug could get through there."

I gestured to the barkeep. "Would you like another beer?"

He smiled. "I won't say no to a decent pint."

"They've even spotted an orc outside of town."

"Yeah, right. The dangerous orc outside the city. A real monster of an orc. He's bound to attack the city soon", Rangar said, obviously sarcastic. "Listen, we'll kick that fat orc in his fat ass if he comes too close to the city. Got it?"

I gestured to the barkeep again. "Would you like another beer?"

A tasty bitter ale is absolutely the best. You know, you don't often meet someone who'll treat you to a bear. You're all right."

It didn't seem like I was going to get anything else out of him. He was too far gone. I moved on.

The man next to Rangar looked interesting enough. "What are you doing here?" I asked him.

"I am a novice from the monastery. I run errands for the magicians and also the paladins. I have provided the three innkeepers in the city with wine from the monastery"

"Who are the three innkeepers?"

"One of them is the good man here behind the bar. Then there is Caragon, who has his tavern on the temple square, and Kardif, the owner of the pub in the harbor district."

"What can you tell me about the monastery?" The fire magicians were one of the three groups with enough influence to get me access to the paladins.

"We novices seek enlightenment in prayer to Innos and learn the principles of faith from the magicians. We serve them as we serve Innos and prepare ourselves for the union with the Fire."

"Take me to the monastery."

"Forget it. Do you know how many creatures I had to evade on the way? When I think of all those bloodflies, wolves, and goblins, I'm glad that I don't have to leave here any more. Besides, you can't enter the monastery anyway.""

"Why not?"

"Entrance is only permitted to magicians, paladins, and novices."

"How can I become a novice?"

"If a man feels the deep desire..."

"Just tell me what the conditions are." I interrupted.

"You need the offerings. A sheep and 1000 gold pieces."

"How am I supposed to get that much gold?"

"Since you obviously don't know anyone who would pay that for you, you'll simply have to go to work."

"Where can I find a sheep?"

"From the farmers, of course. But you won't get one for nothing."

There was one last person huddled around the outdoor bar. He had a large bow on his back and seemed as though he was the type of person to know a thing or two.

"How's it going?" I said, taking a beer from the counter.

"You're not from around here, are you? Never mind - neither am I."

"Where did you hang around before?"

"In the woods, hunting scavengers, and wolves together with some hunters. But I gave it up. These are dangerous times. There's a lot of riff-raff running around out there."

It seemed like I'd heard this man's name before somewhere. After a few moments thinking it over, I recalled why that way. "Bosper said you used to work for him."

"Yes, I did. But he was only interested in blasted hides. I told him how dangerous it's gotten out there. He didn't really listen to me. Well, anyway he paid well. I can't complain about that."

"Can you tell me anything else about him?"

He laughed. "Bosper had one of his bows stolen recently. In broad daylight." Some guy just waltzed into his store, took a bow, and left. The thieves are getting more and more brazen."

"Where can I find the other hunters?"

"We had our camp outside, near the tavern, half way to Onar's farm." He meant the one near Akil's farm.

"But I don't know whether there's anyone left in the camp now. There used to be two of us here in town, until a few days ago. My friend Trokar is an excellent hunter."

"So where is your friend Trokar now?"

"Well, it's a curious story. Only a few days ago, we were both standing at the bar in Coragon's tavern, discussing the hunt. Don't ask me what happened next. I had had a few by then. I vaguely remember Trokar saying that he was going out to get a few swampweed reefers. He never came back."

That piqued my interest. "Where does one get swampweed reefers?"

"Somewhere down at the harbor, as far as I know."

"Didn't you go looking for him?"

"No, but I reported it to the militia. They haven't been able to find him yet. " I hope he didn't get attacked by a wolf, or worse. I'm afraid that I'll stumble over his body some day when I'm out hunting." He shook his head sadly. "I don't think I could bear that."

"Why don't we go hunting together?"

"Hmm. With two it isn't so dangerous, that's true. Do you know anything about hunting, then? I mean, do you know how to skin an animal?"


"Then it wouldn't be worth it. Come back when you've learned something."

Bartok wasn't as useful as I'd hoped, but I did get a bit of information from him. As I turned to leave for Coragon's pub, I heard the dark skinned fellow behind me say something to me. I turned to look at him.

"How strange. It seems to me that I have met you before, traveler. Well... great are the mysteries of time and space. Oh, please forgive my rudeness, son of patience. I have not even greeted you yet. Welcome, friend, take a seat on my humble rugs and enjoy a pipe in peace."

I cocked my head. "Who are you?"

"My name is Abuyin ibn Djadir ibn Omar Kalid ben Hadji al Sharidi. I am a seer and a prophet, an astrologer, and a purveyor of tobacco."

"What kind of tobacco do you offer?"

Abuyin gestured to the water pipes on the ground. "My pipes are filled with spicy, refreshing apple tobacco. Help yourself whenever you want, Son of Adventure."

"Do you have other tobacco as well?"

"I offer only the very best tobacco. This apple blend is a symphony from my homeland, the Southern Isles. But, of course, I'm always open to trying a different sort of tobacco - if somebody should succeed in producing a really good tobacco."

"How is that done?"

"Start with my apple tobacco as a basis. Then try combining it with another ingredient. This is done at an alchemist's bench, provided you know the essentials of alchemy."

"Where can I get apple tobacco?"

"I shall give you two portions. It is up to you in your wisdom to do with them whatever you want. If you crave more, then direct your steps towards Zuris, the Master of Potions. He produces this tobacco and sells it, too."

"Can you make me a prophecy?"

He nodded. "My services are yours for a modest fee, oh Father of Generosity. "

I sighed. Everything had a price. "How much do you want?"

"For a paltry 25 coins, I shall risk a glance through time for you. But remember - the future is always uncertain. All I can do is glimpse some fragments of time. "

I counted out twenty five coins and handed them to him. "Tell me about the future."

He recounted the money. "All right, Seeker of Knowledge. I shall now enter a state of trance. Are you ready?" I said that I was.

Abuyin closed his eyes and began to chant to himself. Incredibly, a blue aura surrounded him and he began to levitate. He began to speak. "Orcs... they are guarding an entry... an old tunnel.. the Valley of the Mines... Men in shining armor... a magician... your friend is with them... he is waiting for you... Fire! An attack... a mighty creature... the flames... many... shall die... what is that...? a city... ruins... Quarhodron in Jharkendar... he is summoned... Quarhodron in Jharkendar."

I stared at the man with my mouth agape. I'd taken him for a grifter It seemed like he was the real deal.

Abuyin slowly began to regain his senses. "I'm sorry... the vision is over. There's nothing more I can see."

I asked if he could give me another prophecy but he simply shook his head and said that it was not time. I walked over to Coragon's pub while thinking about what I'd just seen.

I'd heard earlier that Corgagon would have information about the lost townspeople so I wasted no time. "Tell me about the missing townspeople." I said, leaning on the bar.

"I heard that a lot of them went missing down by the harbor. Small wonderer with all that's going on down there. Even Thorben, the carpenter in the lower part of town, has lost his apprentice. Hakon, one of the merchants in the marketplace, had an especially strange tale to tell. He said that there was this fellow he used to bump into every day, and then suddenly he vanished off the face of the earth. He even went to see the militia about it. The townspeople all pretty much panicked after that. I don't know what to make of it. I think it's all nonsense. Khorinis is a rough city, and many dangers lurk outside her gates. "

Coragon took a swig of his ale and continued. "Those who don't stay within the city walls will be attacked by bandits or eaten by wild animals. It's that simple."

I didn't feel like leaving the tavern yet, so I engaged in some small talk with the barkeep. "How's business going?"

"Ah, don't remind me. Lord Andre is serving free beer at the gallows square. Hardly anybody comes here now except for the rich people from the upper quarter. "

"What's wrong with them?"

"Some of those swells can really get on your nerves."

"Take that Valentino, for instance - I can't stand the sight of him. But I can't pick my customers. I need every coin I can make. What little I had managed to save has been stolen along with my silver."

"You've been robbed?" That seemed like it was a common theme among the shopkeepers I spoke to.

"Yes, some time ago. It was still rather crowded that night, and I was doing the round serving beer. I wasn't gone long behind the counter - but it was long enough for those bastards. I went to see the militia about it - but they couldn't find a thing, of course. They prefer to get plastered on free beer.

"What is it with this Valentino?"

"He's filthy rich and has no need to work. And he brags about it to everyone. Whether you want to hear it or not. He drinks a lot and always stays until the end - then early in the morning, he totters back to the upper quarter. It's the same every day."

Coragon had nothing else of any interest to say so I left. I had some business in the lower quarter of town tend to before I met with Nagur.

I still had two masters to speak with: Constantino the Alchemist and Matteo the shop keep.

Constantino was closer, so I visited him first.

"What do you want? I'm not giving anything away" The old man said.

"I'm looking to become an apprentice" I explained.

"Really? And with whom are you going to sign up?"

"I want to sign up with one of the other masters."

"You have come to ask my approval? Hm - as far as I'm concerned, you can sign up with whomever you like."

"What if I wanted to sign up with you?"

"With me? No! I have already had the dubious pleasure one of grappling with an apprentice. That's quite enough for me. I invested several years in his education and in the end the poor fool up and poisoned himself. Go sign up with one of the other masters!"

"What will I have to do to become YOUR apprentice?"

Constantino sighed. "I couldn't bear yet ANOTHER dilettante on my conscience." There is a multitude of herbs out there. Used in different variations, they develop the most diverse effects. You probably don't even know half of them" Constantino quickly wrote some names on a scrap of parchment and handed it to me. "Here - this is a list of the most important plants. Bring me a plant of each kind, and I might reconsider taking you in as an apprentice."

I began to make my way over to Matteo's shop when I saw Thorben. Caragon mentioned that Thorben's apprentice was missing. I figured that I may as well find out what happened.

"Have you had an apprentice before?" I asked the woodworker.

"Yes, and not too long ago."

"And? What happened?"

"His name is Elvrich. He's my nephew. I was quite pleased with him, actually, but one day he simply didn't show up for work."

"Where is Elvrich now?"

"How would I know? He kept hanging around that filthy brothel by the harbor. I wouldn't be surprised if he's still warming the bed of some whore down there. "

"How long as it been since you saw him?"

Thorben rubbed his chin. "I guess it must be about 2 weeks. "

"Have you reported that to the militia?"

"Of course I have. They were supposed to catch him and see to it that the lazy-bones does his work. But I already regret that. He can do whatever he wants. Sooner or later he'll realize that he'll get nowhere in Khorinis without a decent job"

The carpenter had nothing else to say. As I turned to leave for the harbor district, Matteo's shop caught my eye. I'd been in there before but I hadn't really talked much to Matteo. I decided to see what I could find out about him.

I walked inside and immediately cut to the chase. "Can you help me get into the upper quarter?" I asked.

He looked stunned. "What? What are you going to do THERE?"

"I've an important message..."

"Well, well... Have you tried getting past the guards?"

"I don't see why I should even try."

"You're probably right."

"I don't know HOW important your message is - and it's none of my business. But even if you told them that a ship full of orcs just anchored in the harbor, they'd send you away. Because they have their ORDERS."

This was going nowhere. "So can you help me get into the upper quarter?"

"It seems to be really important to you. The question is: HOW important is it to you?"

"What are you getting at?"

"I can help you - after all, I am one of the most influential people here. But it'll cost you."

I knew where this was going and instinctively reached for my coin purse. "What are you asking for your help?"

"100 gold pieces"

"That's a whole damn lot..."

"Take it easy! It isn't YOUR gold I have in mind."

"In principle, it's MY gold. Gritta, the carpenter's niece, hasn't paid what she owes in ages. But the little brat is constantly running around in new clothes - that means she has the money. I'd like to beat it out of her, but Master Thorben - the carpenter - is also a very influential man. Get me the money and I'll help you."

The job seemed easy enough and, almost as a sort of bonus, I'd get a chance to yell at a woman.

I found Gritta inside her uncle's home reading a book. The door was open so I walked right on in. It was no wonder that so much was being stolen.

She turned away from her book at looked me in the eye. "What do you want, stranger? If you have come to beg, I must disappoint you. I am a poor widow. My name is Gritta. Ever since my husband died, I have been running the household for my uncle, Thorben."

I folded my arms. "Matteo sent me. You still owe him some gold."

She looked at me incredulously. "He wants his money? What for? The goods he delivered were flawed, bad fabric and bad seams. And did you look at the colors? Those are not the colors I ordered. That's fraud, it is! Let me tell you, back when my husband was alive, he wouldn't have dared to do that. Oh, my poor husband. Such a good man he was. Handsome, hard-working, a gentleman of the old school. We had it all, wealth, happiness, sometimes we were even invited to high society events. The festivities, all the beautiful clothes and hairdos. The fine dining and civilized conversations. Everything was better back then. No one would have dared to humiliate the heart of a poor widow with such--"

I'd had enough of her rambling. "Cut it out. Where's the gold"

She looked at me defiantly. "But I don't have the gold. I'm only a poor widow!"

I put a hand on my club. "Fork it over, or I'll slug you one!"

"You're nothing but a common thug. Go ahead, draw your weapon and I'll call the guards! Why are you staring like an idiot? You won't dare to attack me anyway!"

I would.

I smashed my club across Gritta's ribs and rummaged through her things. Sure enough, she had the money Matteo was owed. I returned to Matteo.

"Here's your 100 gold pieces!"

"And? Did she cause any problems?"

I grinned. "None to speak of."

"Good! You've held up your part of the deal."

"How EXACTLY can you help me?"

"Quite simple. I'll use my influence to see to it that one of the master craftsmen here takes you on as an apprentice. As such, you'll practically be a citizen of the city and can enter the upper quarter. Besides which, you'll earn something while you're at it."

Satisfied, I left the shop.

I was still high on adrenaline from the beating I gave that woman. I decided to make it even better with some swampweed. Abuyin had mentioned that I could find some in the harbor district. I wandered around in search of some.

I spied another a building tucked in a corner near the city wall. I walked inside hoping I'd found someone with connections.

The building was owned by a strange old man and decorated with a variety of skeletons. He turned to me as if expecting me. "Ah - you've come just in time. I'm in need of an assistant for a magic experiment. I'm sure you're eager to do me a favor for science's sake."

I held up my hands. "Easy, my friend. First tell me what this is all about."

"I have developed a new spell. A spell of Oblivion."

"I've already successfully carried out a few practical applications, but I don't have time to conduct one final test."

"Tell me more about the experiment and the spell."

"The spell serves to make somebody disremember various events. So far, I have only found it to work when the person in question is angry - for instance, if he has just been knocked down, or robbed. Even if he has only witnessed such a deed, he will scratch it from his memory."

"So I'm supposed to knock somebody down and then put a spell on him?"

"Yes, I think you get the point. But to make someone angry, it is enough to attack him - you don't have to knock him down. So you should pick somebody who's by himself - if there are other people around, you'll just get into trouble with Lord Andre. Also it makes no sense to cast the spell on someone who's busy attacking you. Wait for the right moment."

"What's in it for me if I help you?"

"I could teach you how to brew potions. I know the recipes for healing and mana essences and for speed potions."

That sounded fair, and I already had a target in mind. It just so happened that I'd recently beat someone. "All right. I'll try out that spell."

Ignaz handed me a rolled up scroll. "Then take this spell scroll and find yourself a suitable guinea pig. Once you're done, come back and tell me how it went."

I went back into Gritta's home and began to read the words written on the spell scroll.

A blue aura surrounded her and, remarkably, she seemed to forget why she was angry at me. It worked!

I returned to tell Ignaz the good news. "I used to spell scroll." I reported.

"Fine, fine. And were you successful?"

"Yes, it worked."

"Excellent. One small success for science, but a big one for me! Now I can use my time to instruct you in the arts of alchemy. I could also give you some useful things if you wanted."

I opted for the alchemy lessons. Ignaz taught me the very basics of alchemy and then taught me how to make mana and health potions.

It was now evening and I couldn't put off meeting with Nagur any more. I entered the now crowded tavern.

I saw Garvell in the corner sipping his drink. I decided to quickly tell him what I'd learned of the orcs. He was pleased to find out what Rangar said but was still not completely satisfied.

I approached Nagur and began to consider his offer. He'd killed Baltram's messenger to get whatever was in this package. Was it worth it to give it to Nagur?. On the other hand, if I were to give it to Baltram I'd receive 50 gold, instead of the 1/3 profit that Nagur promised me. Furthermore, giving it to Baltram may hurt my investigation of the thieves guild.