With the rain pelting down on the canvas cover of the cart, the party set out again towards Carradin the next day. Curious as to the hostile reactions Seebo had been greeted with on the road, they asked Thorid about this phenomenon, and why Gnomes in general should be treated with such disdain.
Thorid explained that long ago, when his father was just a young dwarf like him, many Gnomes lived peacefully amongst the then-mixed races of the region. They were known for their craftsmanship and their curiosity, but also for their secrecy. When the change came over them it took some time for the other peoples to notice, and even then they only noticed that there were decidedly less Gnomes in common sight than there had been before. To this day, the nature of the change and its extent remains unknown to outsiders, but the reclusiveness soon grew into a resentment of other races, and many Gnomes were prosecuted as criminals when they turned to dark and deviant practises resulting in many innocent people going missing, only to turn up again soon after grossly mutilated or insane beyond all help.
Those Gnomes imprisoned in this time became mad themselves, if they hadn’t been previously, and none spoke of what had befallen their race. Rumours of ancient secrets or dark magics or evils unknown circulated the population, and the common Gnome, tinkerer, prankster and recluse soon became known as a blackguard, villain and dabbler. Those that remained in public view soon retreated to places unknown when the peoples’ resentment grew to open persecution, and today Gnomes are outlawed from common settlements, and considered enemies of the people.
What actually happened to change an entire race remains unknown, and speculation is rife as to what could cause such a thing. Only time would tell, Thorid said, what had become of the Gnomes, though even that wasn’t certain.
On the sixth day, rain still drowning the landscape in a grey flood, the party were overtaken by a lone rider, aparrently a messenger, though he bore no symbols of office or allegience. Gone as rapidly into the haze as he had appeared from it, he left the party well alone.
On the seventh day of their journeys in this new land, the adventurers finally came across the city of Carradin. The rain had passed and the sky was clearing, and in the new spring light they saw a great port city ahead of them, walled around all the way to the imposing castle built to its north, where a tall keep stood silhouetted against the horizon.
The gate guard seemed less than friendly, demanding that the “merchants” that the party posed as show their liscences (though whether such a thing really exists or not remains to be seen), and only allowed them entry after a “donation” had been made to the city watch. Morbo, obstinate in the face of bullying, paid only half of what the guards demanded though, and their snide remarks betrayed the veiled threat of future trouble, should the adventurers attitude towards the guard, and by extension their bribes, not improve.
Once through the gate, though, the city was open to the party’s every need. Hastily locating the large cathedral of Pelor near the docks, they enquired as to the price of raising their lost friend once more, and set out soon after to sell their spoils to raise the money and gems required for the ceremony, and took the time to shop for some supplies and other items to aid their future adventures while Thorid found them accomodation for the night.
Meeting up back at the cathedral, diamonds and gold in hand, the party paid the church for the ceremony and, aided by Morbo, the priests restored the paladin Talin to life. The process left him weakened and marked, but clear of purpose, despite Morbo’s “account” of events in Goldreach since his demise, and when he met his companions again for the first time it seemed even the great Pelor himself approved of his renewed vigour.
To be continued…