The Governor-General’s Oath; Chapter 25

Once the party had stashed their bags, armor, and sundry items in their rooms, they headed out to find the mayor. Everyone wore their coats, as the temperature had dropped precipitously when the sun had set. It felt as though it was going to snow, the air was crisp and the wind that whipped like a dagger through the tall trees and across the clearing around the town, tore through the night like a banshee’s wail.

The lampposts were all lit, and they had no trouble locating the taverns that Irena had suggested as possible sites to find the mayor. Porger and Cloe liked being along, it gave them the feeling of being mature, and with no pressing business to attend to, the rest of the party was jovial from the beginning. There were not a huge number of taverns, inns, and public houses to go through, but one by one they began visiting each one in turn. At each establishment, they had one drink; it was the only polite thing to do after all, and then off they would go to the next. Cloe and Porger were relegated to drinking only soft cider, because of their age, but everyone else had a small something or other; as a gesture, mind you. By the time they did find the correct pub, everyone except the twins were well and truly smashed.

Mayor Graffendorn was having a last drink with his friends when the Governor-General and his entourage came floundering into the Silver Pine tavern. They arrived with such a ruckus that at first the impression was that a fight had broken out in the street and spilled over into the inn. After asking if the mayor was present, and being told he was, Grundoon had yelled out “AHA! Found you at last!” before leading his motley assemblage lurching through the room, sending furniture and patrons in all directions. Graffendorn was an old man, and not prepared to fight, but all too quickly it was evident that the goblinoid visitors, and their dwarven companion, were only inebriated. Not that they weren’t capable of becoming violent, but that was another matter entirely.

Grundoon crashed against the bar next to Graffendorn and slammed a few coins in front of the bartender. “One last round for the mayor and his friends. I’ll just have a loaf of bread.” He looked at the mayor with a grin. “Well met, my good mayor. I am the Governor-General.” He tried to stand up straight and sat heavily on a barstool. “Your saloons all pass inspection, with flying colors.”

The bartender gave Grundoon a loaf of bread, and the orc began to tear up chunks of it, handing them to his followers. He nodded his head in appreciation. “Another loaf, sir. Excellent bread.” The mayor looked at Grundoon in baffled confusion, as did everyone who had been in the place when the goblinoids entered.

“I’m sorry, did you say you were the Governor-General?” asked Graffendorn. Some of the mayor’s associates began to snicker.

“Yes I did.” Replied Grundoon, still tearing up chunks of bread.

“We heard that you killed a man in a roadhouse with your bare hands.” Said one of the men behind the mayor with a chuckle.

Grundoon bit into his bread and nodded his head. “That I did. Makes you wonder what kind of idiot would hear about that, and then laugh when I am drunk.” His eyes fell on the man who had spoken, and the snickering stopped abruptly.

“I won’t hide the fact that I can be violent.” Said Grundoon calmly. “Nor will I exclaim delight at a city and its mayor when I find them lacking.” He looked at the mayor, sizing him up. “But I do not find Karpaburg or its mayor to be lacking. A fine town, and from what I hear, a fine man at the helm. I just wanted to let you know that I am visiting for a while and wanted to see if you needed anything.”

The mayor looked amused and burst out laughing. “No, my lord, I want for nothing.” He took a drink from the ale that Grundoon had bought for him. “I am delighted at your dedication to find me and tell me personally that you are here. Our old mayor was forever surprising people, as were our former lords, constantly trying to keep us off balance to gauge our dedication and monitor our efficiency. Your forthrightness is refreshing.”

Grundoon laughed as well. “I am nothing, if not refreshing.” He said. Everyone in the bar laughed along.

When the jocularity died down, Grundoon said in a low voice, but still loud enough to be heard, “And what became of the old mayor?”

Graffendorn looked at the old orc. “He was hanged, my lord. He was intensely loyal to the Archduke, and felt it was his duty to continue fighting a war already lost. We disagreed.” The mayor finished his ale.

Grundoon finished his bread and said “Understood. And while I don’t disagree with your decision, be aware that I am acutely allergic to rope, should we ever find ourselves in a similar circumstance. What is done, is done. Let us never entertain such thoughts again. Agreed?”

The mayor smirked and nodded his head. “Agreed, my lord.” He said. Grundoon held out his hand, and the two men shook on their understanding of one another.

“I’ll come see you in the morning at your office.” Said Grundoon. “Everything is going splendidly here, so my visit will be brief. Just wanted to fill you in on some things before I go.”

The mayor and his friends began to put on their cloaks and caps and said their farewells to their neighbors in the tavern. Graffendorn smiled at Grundoon and said, “I will see you in the morning, then, my lord. Good evening.”

After the mayor and his friends had left, Hilde asked the proprietor if she could hang a poster on his wall. He of course agreed, and she set about hanging it up. Jandle bought a couple more loafs of bread, and Trangdor chatted with some of the bar patrons. Very few wanted to speak in Romillian. Most were equally well-versed in the Slothjemian language and preferred to speak that. Grundoon sat and watched it all and was pleased with Karpaburg. This was certainly his kind of place.

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