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As the despondent heroes rolled back into Sandpoint, minus their friend Marius who seems to have fallen in the battle at fort Rannick and Twitchy whom has returned on a pilgrimage to his Shoanti homelands , Krolmn heads off to his happy place.  The Rusty Dragon, and the beautiful face of Ameiko.

As Jon heads off in one direction, Belor accompanies me to tavern.  I am sure for a totally different reason to myself.  As we enter, we see Bethena and ask the Halfling for our drinks, “One Tankard or Ale for Belor and a tall glass of fresh cool milk for myself, please.”  Bethena smiles and gives us a quick wink and rushes off to the kitchen, knowing that Ameiko will want to know that the Heroes of Sandpoint have returned.

Before long out comes Ameiko with 6 drinks and sits down at the table?  “Where are the others, Twitch, Marius and Jon?” she says looking concerned.

I Say “Well Jon and Twitch have headed off to do some resting.”  “And Marius?” she queries.  “Unfortunately Marius is lost to us” says Belor with almost a tear welling up in his eyes.  I am too upset to even look at him as I know that Marius and Belor were close.  Not as close as I was to him, but still close.

Ameiko seeing my distress comes over and gives me a big hug, which brings the smile back to my face.  “Well Belor, I guess that you will have to drink for the rest of the gang, in memory of our friend and hero Marius.”  This brings a smile to Belor’s face as he scoops up the 3 unclaimed tankards of ale.  “I will see that these are downed with great emotion and enthusiasm.”

“I am glad to see you again Ameiko.  It has been a tough time on the road.  The loss of Marius was not our only set back I’m afraid”.  “Well you are back now, that is all that matters.”  “So what has been happening since I have been away?  I see that Bethena is still here, happy as always.”  “Well she makes me happy as well and I have been her friend for quite some time now.”  “Yes, you will have to let me know the story of how you met one day.  Maybe over dinner one night?”  “Well that would be nice.”  Smiled Ameiko.

“For now though Ameiko, I must retire before I fall asleep here on the table.  Can you please keep an eye on Belor for me?  He may be big and strong, but once Belor drinks, he can become a different type of beast.  Just come to my room and get me we might find him darting out of another man’s bedroom window.”  “Ok, I will, but I am sure that I will be able to handle him.”

I get up from the table give Ameiko a little kiss on the cheek and set off to my room.  I give Belor a nod as I leave the bar as I see that he is already polishing off the 4th Tankard of Ale with a lady under each arm singing boldly along with the music being played by a travelling musical troupe, which must be passing through town.

Before heading off to sleep I unpack my supplies and shove them under my bed.  Best to keep things safe now that we know we could be targeted for retribution due to the downing of the Paradise pleasure barge.  After all we were not able to capture the lady of the barge Lucilla and she seems to have a sore point with us.

My sleep that night seems to be long and deep, not sure if this is because of the comfortable bed for a change , or because I am so exhausted.  However I cannot say that it was a peaceful sleep, with images of the ogre’s and giants running wild over fort rannick and images of Marius and Rolando being ripped limb from limb by the grotesque beasts.  There am I sitting there unable to do anything to help them.

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The next morning I head out to the farm to see how my remaining junior rangers are coming along.  Out there I find Nettle and Julius tending to the animals that I have accumulated in my travels.  The horses seem to be reacting well to the instructions that they are being told and should soon be ready for the town guard to utilise.  Some of whom are out at the farm at the moment.  As I approach my junior rangers come running towards me with smiles on their faces.  I tense up as I know what I have to do and how it will affect them.

“Krolmn, how are you going, were your adventures fun?” says Nettle, as Julius catches up and both give me a big hug.

“Well guys, they were interesting but one could not say that they were fun.”  I returned.  “How is Rolando?  Did he get the help that he needed?  How long before he can come back?  I bet him that I could eat 10 eggs in one minute and I have been practising.” Julius exploded.

“On that my Junior Rangers, I have some news.  I think that it best though that we go and sit down under Uncle Twitchy’s tree.”  I then started over towards the tree with the 2 rangers arm in arm.  Once we got there I have the feeling that Nettle had already painted a picture in her mind of what might of happened.  She being somewhat more intune with the world than Julius.  With her eyes watering already, I proceeded to tell them of the reaching the fort and the promise that the black arrows showed for helping Rolando.  Of the attack on the fort which I was unable to stop and the fact that even though we were unable to find Rolando, the outlook was not good.

By the end of the tale, both were in tears, even though Julius tried to hide them.  I decided that it was a good idea to take their minds off it, by showing me what they had learned while I was away.  They took me over to the stalls to start with and showed me how they were caring the large horses, getting them to raise their hooves to see if any stones had become lodged in their shoes and how they were able to harness them up with their saddles and reigns.  They were excited in the fact that I showed immense pride in their skills and knowing that they had worked hard while I was away.  “That is nothing, come and see what else we have done.” Said Nettle as she and Julius races over to the pens.

Once over there they asked, “We will need to have a volunteer to ride the horse”.  To their and my surprise a voice was heard agreeing from behind us, Belor had arrived.  Over breakfast that morning I had talked with Belor about going out to the farm, and who could have thought he would come out to visit.  He must have really missed the kids, or maybe he was trying to avoid Shaylis and her mother, and as such volunteered to ride the mount for them.  As he mounted the steed, Nettle whistled to short bursts, and the horse began to walk.  Belor quickly grabbed for the reigns as he hadn’t expected that.  Then in another short blast the horse stopped.  Belor pronounced “Well that is pretty good.” “Oh were not finished yet.” Julius said.  He then gave two longer whistles and the horse started to walk backwards.  I smiled to see that they have indeed been working hard and the look on Belor’s face was funny to watch.  He started to look like, maybe he shouldn’t have volunteered, considering again that these were the students of Krolmn.  Krolmn the Joker, Krolmn the gnome whom got him into so much trouble with Shaylis.  After another command the horse began to canter and then the final command the was given and the horse reared up and started to kick it’s front legs.  Well Belor hadn’t expected that one and flew of the back of the horse.

We all came into the pen in a hurry to ensure that he was ok.  All he could do was laugh and was very red in the face.  “Well you got me with that last one.”  Then a look of equal mischief came to his face. “Right now it is my turn to teach you two something.”  Both of the junior rangers faces suddenly changed from laughing to jaw dropping.  “Krolmn, is it alright with you?”  “By all means turn about is fair play.”

I then took my leave and returned back to Sandpoint.  As I looked back I overhear Belor say, “So have any of you handled a sword before?”

I had intended to check in on the Hippogriff egg, but considering how well they have been with the training of the horses, I was sure that the egg was in fine hands.  Also why interrupt them as Belor began his training by tackling both to the ground.

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Waking in my new bed was starting to feel more comfortable.  It was hard to move further away from Ameiko and the Rusty Dragon had become home, but to concentrate on my craft, I needed to move further away to a more secluded location so that no harm came to others.  Especially the ones close to me.  Recently I have been getting closer to a new discovery, but for now I need to finish some other tasks for myself and Twitchy.

Before we set off, Twitchy and I had a good discussion on what we needed to provide for us to co-exist at the farm.  After a long night of planning and discussion, we came away with a detailed plan.  It was good to work together and we seemed to have a similar lists of needs to benefit each other and the locals.  So, one of the first things to do on my list was to build my alchemy lab.  So utilising what we had at our disposal I organised the construction of the Alchemy lab and many other of the buildings we agreed upon.  Once I had spent some days moving back and forth from the Rusty Dragon to the farm though, I decided that some redirection of labour was required and it would be best for me to move out to site and supervise the progress and better use my time. 

I needed to use the magical repository anyway and could not be disturbed.  Belor’s Acid Dripping menace proved no problem and the more interesting and fascinating helm of dragon breath required Jon’s assistance but other than that I was able to handle this on my own.

So lots of progress has been made at the farm, boy will twitchy get a surprise when he gets back.

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One night while Belor and I were discussing the junior rangers and how the training was going on, we were thinking of ways that could make both of us more affective when dealing with the hazards that surfaced while out on the road.  Anyway, I think somehow Belor managed to slip something in my milk, because before I knew it we were waste deep in the undergrowth looking for some tasty mushrooms to cook up.  What we did come across though was far more interesting than any old multi-coloured mushroom, well to me anyway.  I had stumbled upon some bloodroot.  I quickly rounded up my tools, which I had on me anyway since we seemed to be hunting for some mushroom and skilfully exhumed the root.  Belor stumbled over and asked “What are you doing Krolmn, were supposed to be looking for deer.”   I thought to myself, I now know the reason why I can’t drink.

The next few days at the end of my work , I went out again with Belor to see what other bounties I could find, on top of that I was able to milk the snakes that I was able to collect from the black dragon lair.  All was going well until I was out searching for some Azure lily.  I am not sure what happened, it all seemed to be going well.  I was able to use some spells at my disposal to find the lily, but as I was trying to remove it I was blinded by a puff of powder and then I couldn’t move.  It was a good thing that Belor was with me, he didn’t seem to get as much of the pollen blast as I and was able to drag me away and back to my bed.  Well that can happen when you play with fire at times, sometimes you get burnt.  I tried again one more time with a different source, but was unsuccessful with this one as well.  So I took this as a sign that I had enough and some of the things that I have been trying to collect are quite potent.  Where I am happy to risk myself for the benefits, I could not risk the life of Belor, who was becoming my ever present companion.

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This time back at Sandpoint had been very plentiful for me.  I had progressed a long way at the farm and most of the buildings had been completed and only a few were remaining to be completed.  I had undergone some research into some alchemy weapons and created some others, my dabbling in my most recent crafting effort had netted plentiful bounty for Belor and myself and my date with Ameiko had gone well.  Absence must make the heart grow fonder.  All my plans had come to fruition.  My junior rangers had progressed well and after a day working with Father Zantus I was happy to add Kasp to the ranks of Julius and Nettle.

My time back had come someway to repair my most recent feelings about how my little adventure to turtle back ferry went.  Belor and I will be helping out the town guard tonight patrolling the surrounding areas, all seems to be quiet for now. 

Later that night as we were discussing this we heard a terrible sound coming from ahead…..well not everything can be a fairy tale.

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