Chapter Twenty - Scavengers

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BREDOCK HOLT STEPPED OUT OF THE PORTAL and onto the dusty main street of Carenden Bridge. One by one the others followed until the whole party stood in the hot afternoon sunshine. Behind them, the portal flickered, the light dimmed, and with a sucking whoosh, it closed.

The Gnome looked about acknowledging a gathering crowd of towns folk. Shopkeepers, farm workers and Elves going about their daily business all stopped what they were doing and looked in alarm at the sudden appearance of the strange group.

'Greetings!' Holt called out. 'We mean you no harm. We are seeking news of some friends of ours who passed this way.'

There was much muttering and shaking of heads and the crowd quickly dispersed.

Holt glanced over his shoulder to where Mallt Rhakan waited patiently. She still held Jessica close to her. The dark shadowy collar wrapped tightly around the child's neck. 'Not a very talkative bunch are they,' she hissed.

'I am afraid not,' he replied. 'They tend to keep themselves to themselves. Except for trading with the city, they do not get out much.'

Holt let his gazed wonder passed the witch. His eyes falling on a sign fixed to one of the buildings.

                                                               THE WOLF AND BLADE

'One moment,' he said a smile lighting up his face.

He started to walk towards the tavern.

'Bredock!' Mallt shouted, stopping him in his tracks. 'Where do you think you are going?'

He turned to her. 'We need confirmation that your spies gave you the correct information. If anyone knows who passes through his township it will be the landlord of yon drinking house.'

She thought for a moment. 'Very well. But Orin will accompany you to make sure you do not try any of your trickery.'

Holt nodded trying to look a little hurt. 'As you wish.'

Orin Cerne caught up with him. 'I will be watching you,' he warned.

'Your mistress holds all the cards for the moment,' Holt growled. 'I do not intend to put the children in any danger. I will fulfil my end of the bargain. You just make sure she keeps to hers.'

Bredock pushed open the tavern door and stepped into the cool interior.

A young Elven girl carried a jug of ale and a platter of food to several Elves that were sitting in an alcove at the back of the bar. They appeared to be the only customers.

Bredock and Orin approached the polished counter. An Elf with thinning grey hair stood behind it busy polishing glasses. He huffed on one and rubbed it with his apron before placing it on a shelf.

He stopped suddenly, catching sight of the newcomer's reflection in a mirror.

He spun around. 'Bredock Holt! It has been a while since you graced my establishment.'

Holt nodded and smiled. 'Omiol Gildoran, my friend it is good to see to again.'

Omiol Gildoran eyed the Gnome with suspicion. 'What brings you back here?'

'I am in need of information...' Holt began. 'But first a tankard of your finest ale.'

The landlord started to pour. 'And your friend...?' he queried.

'Sorry,' Holt said apologetically. 'This is Orin Cerne. He is a... an associate of mine.'

'We have no time for this,' Orin growled. 'Find out what we need to know so we can move on.'

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