“No,” said Gigas in disbelief. “Summon a demon? Here?”
“Well, not right here,” said Xanaphia. “There is rumored to be a spot 1,200 feet outside the city limits, where the boundary between planes is weak. We have tracked this summoner this far–”
“Until you got in the way!” said Zookle, the gnome, angrily. “He’s gone now!”
“Excuse me, but if you’re going to throw fireballs around my city…” started Gigas.
“Cuthbarnit, we’re goin’ in circles!” Cressel Bashsweckler stamped his foot. “We need to find that summoner varmint, and fast, ‘efore he gets a chance to escape in the dark!”
The human, elf, and gnome looked at each other, resolving to move on. “I cannot track him over these roads,” said Xanaphia. “Master halfling, we must move on.” Gigas just nodded at them. “Farewell, then,” said Xanaphia. The three adventurers turned their backs on Gigas and walked off. They hadn’t gone half a block before Bashsweckler nearly tripped over an old halfing man who was only 2 feet tall, causing another storm of unusual swears from the human.
“Is it just me, or does it look like those folks could use some help?” Gigas directed the question at Hup, who actually nodded. The familiar was growing more and more attuned to its master, and had started learning some basic gestures. “Let’s try and be quiet,” Gigas said, and went off after them.
Halflings had a natural talent for following quietly, although it was actually harder to do here in Hobbitania, the world’s only halfling-run city. Normally a halfling would pass beneath the notice of the taller folk, but that was no good here, and as Gigas came from a prominent family, a couple of people stopped him to say hello, and ask him where he had been for the last few weeks. He would have liked to stop and chat with them all, but he waved them off to follow the three outsiders.
“He would have run this way. A human. A big human. With a black cloak. Running past? Come on, how could you miss it?”
Zookle the gnome was doing the talking, stopping random passers-by on their way to the market or to the docks, and not generally getting a lot of help. Being the same height as the halflings didn’t improve Zookle’s manners at all. And neither he, nor his two taller companions, had noticed that Gigas was still following them.
“I don’t know, maybe he didn’t come this way,” said Zookle.
Xanaphia sighed. “Let us double back a bit, then.”
Gigas ducked behind a cart until the three outsiders passed him, and then hopped back into the street. He looked around, and noticed an old family friend, a distinguished gentleman by the name of Boram. Boram was leaning against the wall of a bakery, munching on some sweet bread, watching the Zookle and his company walk angrily back towards the square they almost blew up. Gigas decided it was time to investigate on his own. He approached Baram, who gave a start at the sight of Gigas, but extended a warm hand.
“Why, Gigas m’boy! How are you, how are you! My word, I heard you’d left town!”
“I went on a little trip,” said Gigas, shaking Boram’s hand heartily. “I could never leave here for long, though,” he grinned.
“Your parents were quite worried about you,” said Boram with concern. “I told them, don’t worry about it, whatever’s out there, I’m sure Gigas will be a match for it.”
“Thanks for the vote of confidence, Mr. Boram,” said Gigas, smiling. Inside though, he felt a pang of guilt. His parents, especially his mother Megan, were always worried about him. He wasn’t normally too sympathetic to his mother’s overprotective nagging, considering that she was a sorcerer of considerable power herself and had put herself in plenty of dangers in her day. But it was true that he hadn’t gone home to see her yet. Still… it could wait.
“Mr. Boram…” said Gigas. “Did you see those those three folks, the human, the elf, and the gnome?”
“Oh, yes,” said Boram, laughing a bit. “A queer group, I have to say. They were asking about, ah…”
“A human in black?”
“Just so. Of course, there are plenty of humans from all the ships that dock here, not to mention the other big folk that live in the area. Really, what did they expect?”
“I know, right?” said Gigas, laughing along with Boram at the others’ foolishness. “In all seriousness though, they told me they were tracking some kind of a dark summoner, a wizard I guess, who’s just arrived today.”
“Ah, a wizard up to mischief, is it? Well,” Boram stroked his beardless chin, “I don’t know if this is the fellow you’re on about, but there was a human wearing dark robes who came by here a little while ago. That gnome kept yammering about how he was running, and this gentleman was simply strolling by, waving his staff casually.”
“Heh. Well, the pursuit did get… interrupted,” said Gigas, chuckling. “If you don’t mind my asking, is it possible you saw which way he went?”
“Well, I went into the bakery right after I saw him, but I did overhear something he said,” said Boram, wanting to be helpful. “He was asking directions to the Purple Worg.”