Michael Ward

The Tapestry of Aethelred

The party think there is some kind of link between the Wizards’ College in Stamford and The Happy Wench, but they do not stay to find out what it is — they return to Derby to see Gleese, who writes a letter of introduction to Gleason Blalock of Nottingham, a retired merchant and insurer of considerable wealth, whose priceless tapestry depicting Aethelred’s victories over the Picts was just discovered by them in the Orc cave. Aethelred tells them that it had been stolen three years ago, but he does not know by whom or how it would have ended up in the Orc cave. He does say that the highwaymen who robbed his wagon train (which he was not on) and stole the tapestry were definitely human. He says he has three old enemies left in Nottingham (Cynigils, Oethric, and Seward), and that he thinks if anyone was behind the theft, it would be one of those three. Black-Jack questions all three only to find that they all report having been cheated or driven out of business many years ago by Blalock, and all are now either in another line of work (Seward, who became a scribe for the Inquisitors’ Office of Nottingham) or running rather less-than-successful businesses (Oethric runs a wine and ale shop and Cynigils runs a rug shop). The party reports to Blalock that they could find nothing out, and decide to revisit the Drow cave they found months ago. On their way through town, an assassin disguised as an old woman stabs Salazar through the heart, killing him. Black-Jack shoots her with a Drow-poison-tipped bolt as she runs away and knocks her unconscious. Aelwulf, the head priest of the temple of Odin, is called to help them.



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