As I strode in to Owl’s Head to conclude a rather delicate transaction with the public vendor, I noted the not too long forgotten Tour Guide standing off in the shadows.

“Well good evening, Tour Guide! Fancy meeting you here! I had anticipated after our last encounter where you nearly got me incinerated, mauled by a bear and attacked by thugs that our paths would not cross again. But, here you are, most likely with some sort of trinket that necessitates my harrowing escape from a myriad of enemies and nefarious types out to do me harm? What has brought about your return? Come now, out with it!”

“Good evening Outlander! I do indeed have another exciting and thrilling tour of the realm for you. There will new places to explore, and wonders galore! And when complete, you will get this fabulous, limited edition, hand crafted Cloak of the Shardfall. I can tell by that twinkle in your eye, I have your interest.”

“Oh my dear Tour Guide!” I replied. “Why do you tempt me so? You know my fondest for cloaks! You know I can’t resist the temptation to add another to my collection, even when it means I might lose my life, or worse yet, my dignity. Very well, give me the details! Spare me nothing! Keep me in suspense no longer! Who am I up against this time? Do I have to rob a dragon nest? Steal the loin cloth off a troll? Abscond with the unmentionables of a Cabalist minion?”

“Well, Outlander, I can’t deny those are all fine ideas and worthy of future quests, but I have something far different in mind this time. This is a real tour this time and all you need to do is visit my confederate in the town of Westend, Brookside, Etceter, Brittany and #@$%.”

“Beg pardon there Tour Guide? I think you got a little something stuck in the clockwork gears there. That last location didn’t quite come out.”

“No, there was no error. You merely need to go to #@$%.”

“I see your game. You’ve somehow lost the destination of my final visit and I will have to somehow divine the answer by connecting seemingly unrelated and random sets of information. Very well. Since there is a cloak on the line, I’m willing to play along.”

And with that, I sped to the Lunar Rift and hurled myself to the destination of Westend. To my great delight I was not mauled, stabbed or pummeled with arrows. I was in a civilized town and the Tour Guide watched patiently for me with no sign of thugs or skeletons waiting to leap out at me as soon I got too close.

The other destinations were as equally not fraught with danger. I was even able to take a moment for a light repast at the local tavern before continuing on my way. But as I neared the conclusion of my journey, the final location of the Tour Guide eluded me. I sat in the tavern going over my parchments trying to deduce where he might be hiding.

Using my adventurer skills and past experiences, I plotted my course, connected the lines, triangulated my position relative to the Oracle, drew a curve through all the locations and came to the conclusion that although it made a fine drawing of a drunken condor, it would not help me locate the final hiding place of the Tour Guide.

In desperation I kicked my chair, slammed my fist and toppled my ale. This only lead to further desperation and I hurled the parchment to the floor with great impunity.

As it floated to the floor, I realized the picture was upside down. The answer stared back at me, almost tauntingly, and I dashed from the pub! I then quickly returned to the pub to pay my drinks bill lest there be trouble with the local constabulary and another tavern be added to the list of establishments I’m no longer able to visit.

With that crisis averted, I anxiously waited at the Lunar Rift. I repeatedly checked my sundial, but due to the time of night, it was of little value and time passed even more slowly.

But then the moment was at hand, the gleaming bolt of light struck the cairn stone and I leapt in with a wail of glee.

“Tour Guide! I knew I would find you in the Isle of Storms! It’s the last place anyone would look for you, and thus the last place that came to mind. Other than you being located in a respectable public house or that house of ill repute we aren’t supposed to talk about.”

“Greetings Outlander! I’m glad you’ve come to pay me a visit. I feared no one would play along and come to say hello. I can’t say I blame them, I have put you and your kind to the hazard and caused a bit of grievous injury along the way.”

“Indeed you have my blue metal miscreant. But let us put all that behind us as you reward me with a fabulous new cloak!” I said excitedly. “I’ve been to all the locations. I’ve checked in with your comrades. I even had them write it down in my book of mischievous and exciting deeds. I have proof of where I’ve been! It won’t stand up in a court of law, just keep that in mind, but it should suffice for this adventure!”

“Congratulations to you Outlander! Take this cloak and wear it well. Be a shiny beacon of adventurous skill and questing fortitude! And don’t forget to tell your friends I’m out here.”

With that, the Tour Guide gave an enviable flourish as he draped the Shardfall Cloak around my shoulders. I was giddy with excitement and silky trim of the collar was an extra treat.

“It looks quite fetching on you Outlander. Wear it well!”

“Wear it? Are you daft? It could get soiled! Cut! Snagged by some street urchin! Dear me no! This will go on the wall with my other collection of cloaks. I shall admire it for many a day and only don it on special evenings.”

“Well, as pleases you Outlander. Thank you kindly for dropping by. Perhaps you could drop in from time to time and tell me how things fair in the rest of the realm?” he asked, rather longingly.

“Is there another cloak in it for me?” I asked. “And will you let me have it without needlessly risking my life?”

“Perhaps,” he answered.

“Then I shall be back in due course and will regale you with my grand adventures!” Then I sped off toward the Rift once again and gave a wave to the Tour Guide as I disappeared into the ether of the realm.

SotA_05-12-18_23-43_1

Huzzah! Another beautiful cloak to add to my collection! And I didn’t get mauled, set on fire, or stabbed in my kidneys! That makes this one even more special!

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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