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Ain’t nobody gonna believe this, but I’m writin’ all o’ it down anyway.

The other night, me and Sir Aetion was standin’ by the west gate ‘o Foothold what leads out to Thrym’s pass and beyond. We was just chewin’ the fat. Sir Aetion’s a good friend o’ mine and he’s the head guard at the gate.

Before he’ll unlock that gate and swing it open you gotta show him a piece o’ parchment with Captain Hillar’s special seal pressed into it in the lower right hand corner. That paper states you’ve enough trainin’ to be able ta survive the dangers what lie beyond.

Anyways, me and Sir Aetion worked out a deal o’ sorts. Sometimes folks what’s new to Foothold is curious ‘bout what lies on the other side o’ those big sturdy wooden doors what Sir Aetion always keeps locked up tight. Well, fer a handful o’ gold, I’ll oblige ‘em by givin’ them a little tour!

Of course I gotta give Sir Aetion a per . . . a . . . percen . . . uh, I gives him a cut so’s he’ll look the other way when I sneaks new folks out the gate. The excursions is always kinda short cause after they’ve seen a giant and dodged a stone or two, their interest seems to wane and they’ll stand there tremblin’, as pale as ghosts, carpin’ and complainin’ they’ve seen enough.

They’re wantin’ me to lead ‘em back to Foothold right quick and off we go! And I got a big smile on me face, listenin’ to their coins jinglin’ and janglin’ tucked safely away deep inside one o’ my pockets!

Anyways, before I leave with a customer, I always check the pass myself, to make sure there ain’t no minions or dragons lurkin’ about. I mean giants is one thing, but it would be bad fer business if word got ‘round I was runnin’ a tour what nobody was ever returnin’ from, ya know?

Anyways, that night I had one customer interested in my little venture. A paladin in trainin’ whose name was Lawson Goode. He had a starry look in his eyes, and was hopin’ we’d find a dragon in the pass so’s he could slay it! What a fool! A typical man! They’s always lookin’ fer conquest and glory, and for what I’ll never know!

I don’t like paladins too much anyways but business is business so I took his deposit and told him there’d be no dragons for him to be slayin’ tonight. T’would be too dangerous, and that was that! I asked him to give me about five minutes to make sure the pass was relatively safe for travel, and to wait by the gate for me.

I flashed my parchment with Hillar’s seal on the bottom, Sir Aetion swung open the gate for me, and off I went. I ain’t traveled into Thrym’s Pass more then a couple o’ paces and a boy, makin’ his way from the east, gives me a wave and a smile and walks right up to me! Around the same time Sun-Ok pops up outta nowhere and joins the both o’ us! She’s been doin’ that a lot lately. Poppin up outta nowhere. I’m thinkin’ it’s a new kind o’ magic trick she’s learned.

I ain’t sure o’ the boy’s name but he says he’s a town crier on his way from the dwarf city, and he’s bringin’ a message to all those livin’ in Foothold and Yar ‘bout what’s been goin’ on in Stonemark!
It’s a warning to all those who’ve a mind to be visitin’ that fine city! It seems the maniac lady doin’ all the stranglin’ ain’t been caught yet and it’s become dangerous for folks to be walkin’ the streets! They’s even gonna have a curfew in effect after dark!

Oh geez! Well me and Sunny looked at each other, the both o’ us thinkin’ the same thing. Someone was gonna have to catch this mad woman, this Stonemark Strangler, and put a stop to these dreadful crimes she was committing! Even more important, Lord Mark might be offerin’ a hefty reward fer bringin’ her in!

Well, with Sun-Ok bein’ a good tracker, and me trailin’ along behind her, guardin’ her back while she’s bent over lookin’ fer clues, we figured we’d make a good team and decided to give it a try. We made our way back to Foothold and to the wagon what would take us to Yar, and then on to Stonemark.

I gave the paladin back his deposit and told him the tour was canceled for the night. I also told him if it was dragons he was lookin’ for, to buy a nice warm cloak then start walkin’ north. Eventually, he’d meet up with a dragon or two that he could have a go at.

I ain’t seen him since. I’m wonderin’ how he made out.