Part VIII: A Chance Encounter

“Why has Lord Padraig been taking audience in the main hall? I thought he’d been told to stay abed?” Valthrun badgers the guard as the two hastily move through the streets of Winterhaven. Most of the town is already busy going about their day, and the two men rushing through the streets drew far more attention than the young sage wanted. He tries to remember to lower his voice.

“He insisted,” the worried guard answers, “for the last few days, he’s been taking audience with various groups and adventurers who came calling. Word is spreading that he’s looking for able bodied men willing to aid in the rise of Gardmore.”

“Days!” Vathrun exclaims, before realizing he’s raising his voice again. The two men push through the manor house until they reach the main hall. The scene is frightening for Valthrun. The guards have cleared the room of everyone except one figure that the sage barely notices. Two guards hover over the prone form of Padraig, clearly unsure what to do.

Valthrun drops to his knees and begins to check Lord Padraig in all the ways he knows, wishing that he had Odus or Sister Lenora there to help. Though he has some knowledge of the human body, it’s strictly in a scholarly sense, and he has no idea what to do to help Padraig.

“May I be of assistance?” a voice says from behind. Valthrun turns and finds the forgotten guest that the guards had not ushered out. Having moved up quietly, the man has taken a knee behind Vathrun, his eyes on Padraig. Behind him, the sage can see a spear leaning against the wall, and the tabard the man wears is patched and grimy, bearing the leering mask of the Laughing Rogue. With the strangers sleeves rolled up, Valthrun can see clearly the plethora of tattoos across his hand and forearms. The back of his right hand bears a set of dice rolled to ones, where the forearm is a storm of black clouds, demons, and monstrosities. On the back of the left hand is another pair of dice, these bearing a roll of seven total, and the forearm is a portrait of clouds, sunlight, and angels. Valthrun pauses, unsure what to make of the man. Clad in chain, the man’s skin betrays a familiarity with combat in the many scars and marks on his body, and his close-cropped hair gives the sage the impression that he’s a soldier, not a healer.

“Uh,” Valthrun looks him over again, taking in his martial nature, “I don’t mean to offend you, but you don’t look like you can help.” The stranger smiles patiently.

“It’s clear you are out of your depth here, friend,” he says smiling as he inches closer, “Why not chance my help?”

“Our regular healer, Sister Lenora, is not here, as luck would have it. Are you a healer?”

“As a matter of fact, I am.” The stranger reaches out and places his palms on Padraig, and Valthrun can feel power flowing through the man and into Padraig. “Ironic the twist of chance, isn’t it?”

“How so?” Valthrun says as he leans back, relieved to see colour return to Lord Padraig, and his breathing begin to even out from its previous laboured state.

“Fortune puts me here when your healer is not.”


“Well, friend, some might say that Lenora being absent is ill luck.” Valthrun states skeptically. The stranger merely smiles in return, as Padraig’s eyes flutter open and the men help him to a sitting position.

“Bad or good,” the stranger says, “it’s still luck.” He extends his hand out to Valthrun, “My name is Phenton Luckmaker, a cleric of Olidammara, but please call me Fynn“. The two men shake hands as Lord Padraig shakes the fog from his head.

Padraig finally becomes more aware of his surroundings, and the group of men help him to his chair.

“What happened?” the Lord of Winterhaven asks, confusion in his voice.

“You had a fainting episode, my Lord.” Fynn says, glancing at Valthrun, “But I would suggest you retire for the day, and get your strength back.” Valthrun nods his head in agreement, as he hovers close to his liege.

“My lord,” the young sage says, “I must make haste to Gardmore in order to speak with the Winterguard but I need to bring you up to speed on some readings I’ve uncovered, perhaps I can help you to your quarters, and we can discuss matters there?”

“Nonsense,” Padraig states gruffly, “I’ve spent enough time lying around! There is too much to be done, and enough time has been wasted. I will accompany you to Gardmore and we can discuss matters along the way.”

“Respectfully, I would not recommend this course of action, my lord.” Fynn adds, “You could encounter another fainting episode. I don’t mean to pry, but it’s evident to me that you’ve undergone some sort of psychic trauma recently, and you don’t want to be alone on the road without the benefit of a healer if another seizure happens.”

Anchor”Who is this man?” Padraig demands of Valthrun, his tone impatient.

“Um, Phenton, a cleric.” The sage stammers.

“Good.” Padraig states with finality, “Then he’ll travel with us.”

“Well, uh,” Valthrun says unsure, “It’s just that I’m not sure why he’s here, my lord.” The cleric of Olidammara smiles at the sage.

“As luck would have it,” Fynn says, “I was here to ask lord Padraig’s permission to go to Gardmore.”

Author: Neil