Hundreds of people were in attendance as we sat at the table of honor with Lord Padraig and the rest of the tables were set about his castle grounds. Flags and banners were wafting in the breeze and everyone was wearing their finest.
There were several tables of Dwarves, we hadn’t realized until we got back how put out the dwarves had been by Kalarel’s activities in the area, Bairwin’s Grande Shoppe was only a small part of the damage he had done to the dwarves. The goblin depredations had been particularly damaging to Dwarven trade and even dwarven persons. Over the past few days they had not been shy about telling us how thankful they were and whenever any of us tried to talk about provisions or purchasing magic items they would just laugh and say certainly and give a nod and a wink.
And not only the Dwarves were acting strange in that way. Lord Padraig was also full of secrets and I even noticed some young maidens looking at me and merrily whispering amongst themselves, as young ladies are oft want to do, when we would walk by. So by the time of the great feast we were as excited as the rest of the town.
The event started with Lord Padraig making a toast to Lord Sterling of Arabel and saying what a benefit it is to have such a good friend to have sent folks of our caliber to rescue the town. No one seemed to recall that it wasn’t really in the plan, but why spoil a good toast?
The toasting carried on for some time and then the meal was brought out and we dined heartily on a wide selection of foods and a particularly good roast beast. As the night wore on the food was mostly eaten and the real drinking and heroic tier toasting began.
It was started by the Dwarves. Their local cleric, Brymm Stoneheart, led a great toast that waxed and eulogized on many points, finally aliting on Thunefir and Bearn. He said he hoped they would except these small tokens of the great esteem in which the Sterling Silver dwarves were held by all the dwarves in the area. That is what they had come to call Lord Sterling’s dwarven host, Sterling Silver Dwarves.
First he truned to Bearn and said that any dwarf who was held in such high regard by Thunefir was certainly a clan-wothy dwarf indeed and that they made him an honorary member of Thunderheart clan. To symbolize this they gave him a magic axe inlaid with the Sterling Silver coat of arms and all over filagreed beautifully, as only dwarves can do, that could seperate into two axes with a flick of the wrist and join together just as quickly, and to insure that they were always extra sharp they gave him a fancy leather belt with ten pouches and in each pouch was a magical whetstone. There was much ooing and awing as Bearn recieved his gift.
Next he faced Thunefir and said that they were all very concerned about the great divne eminence’s well being and they presented him with a suit of mithral scale armor, also beautifully fillagreed and embossed with the name Sterling Silver Dwarves. The Dwarves were weeping in their ales at this magnificent gift.
Then a most amazing thing happened, he turned to Aponym and said that he had rendered invaluable service to the dwarven cause and as he was known as a personal friend of Lord Sterling and from now on he would be known to them as “Dwarf Friend.” With this he did cause to be brought forward a most beautiful suit or Leather Armor that had brilliant true-silver plates embossed on it with the name of a clan dwarf who had contributed to its creation.
This was all that Lord Padraig could take and he finally stood up laughing and said that this was his feast and he wouldn’t be left out of his turn at munificence. He started by recounting the qualities of Nemanock, and he counted many. Chief among these were his appreciation for the wealth and well being of all those who depend upon Winterhaven. He said he could never repay him the full boon he owed, but he would symbolize it by giving him the cape off his back and as he said this he flourished the cape and appeared right next to the warlock and handed him the cape.
What I beheld next did truly confound me because walking up through the rows of tables was none other than Valthrun with a gaggle of pretty little goslings, I call them goslings for the way they followed the eccentric old man, but they were a collection of the finest young maidens of Winterhaven, the very ones I had seen looking and giggling all week. He called out to Lord Padraig and said there was one more left who had not been properly thanked and at this all the girls burst out into peels of laughter and I detected a confused look on Lord Padraig’s face, but a knowing smile on the Lady Padraig. He said that first he had a gift for me and he handed me a wonderfully smelling basket and said “may you never be hungry in all your travels.”
Then at the impatient assistance of the young ladies, he was obviously enjoying teasing them with his delays, he said the young ladies of the town, and especially Lord Padraig’d daughter Opheliatta, made a beautifully embroidered quilt for you and brought it to me asking if I could make it magical. I said they already had, but I would do what I could. With this he planted a most beautiful standard in the ground and we could all feel its salubrious effect.
At this we felt we should return the toast and toasts were made. A most strange thing happened later still. A beautiful woman in a black dress walked up to Bearn and with a knowing look said “I believe this matches your ring.” Bearn looked at this circular disk with a strange, I would say pleased look, and then looked up, I assume to thank her, but she was gone. Nobody had seen her leave, nobody could remember her walking in, she was just suddenly there, and nobody had ever seen her before.
The party continued but a little longer and we retired back to Wrafton’s Inn.