After the battle with the Gargun army and the Fire Elioud, it was tempting to take some time to rest and recharge. But we were on a tight deadline – we needed to reach Lecia before winter. We were already only days away from the Day of Wonder, and we did NOT want to be caught out in the open on that day. Maximus took on another mission and stayed behind, and Morwenna decided to stay with the family she knew in Nemora Ater.
The journey to Lecia was surprisingly uneventful. I guess when you are used to so many things going wrong, that when things are easy – you suspect that something big is coming.
We made it to Flumen Ancra Arcem with no issues. Ravinia and her family opted to stay on the boat. Apparently her father had gotten in a bit of trouble the last time he was in town, and thought that the city guard would not be too happy to see him. Roscoe of course, disappeared as soon as we landed. We hoped that he might somehow miss when we took off, and we could leave without him.
After securing rooms, baths and something to eat, we met with Cilla Aura, who is the Legatus Legionis for the city. We updated her with what had happened with the Gargun and Fire Elioud army, and gave her as much information as we had.
It was only another couple of days until the Day of Wonder, so we opted to stay in Flumen Ancra Arcem until after it had passed. It turned out to be a good idea, as the entire river froze solid overnight. Still, that was a relatively calm Day of Wonder, so we considered it a success. We departed a couple of days behind schedule, and unfortunately, Roscoe reappeared just in time to jump on the boat as we were pulling out. Curse our luck!!!
Our next stop was Viculus Furinus, which is where the river meets a huge waterfall. So huge that our barge had to be completely unloaded, transported to the bottom of the waterfall, and loaded on to another barge. There was a backlog to have the cargo unloaded, so we were forced to stay a couple of days. Viculus Furinus is also known to be a city of thieves, so we stayed close and avoided trouble as much as possible.
We arrived in Lecia a couple of days later. Junia took us to her family’s estate, which was very large and impressive. She offered to let us stay there for the winter, and we all gratefully accepted. Ulgaden and I decided to explore the city together, and shop to replenish our supplies. But first, I pulled Roscoe to the side and asked him to do a favor for me. I still had no idea where to even begin looking for where the circus folk might be staying, and I worried that they might be on the lookout for a Koori. So I asked Roscoe to poke about town and talk to his “shady” contacts and see if he could catch some news of where they might hang out.
After our day of shopping, we returned to the estate, and Roscoe updated me with what he had found out. It turns out that the circus wasn’t nearly as difficult to find as I expected it to be. I had thought that the circus was coming to town to ride out the winter, but it turns out that they were putting on nightly shows. I thanked Roscoe for his help, and secretly asked one of the servants to draw him a bath and a foot soak, and to bring him something to eat. I guess I should probably start being a little nicer to the little guy. I guess he isn’t ALL bad.
We decided not to waste any time and went to check out the circus that very night. I was a little worried that Ulgaden and I might stand out, but it turns out that my worries were unfounded. Lecia has many Koori, and nobody looked twice at us. We were able to get seats in the second row, which gave us a good view of the show. We noticed immediately that there were many Koori among the circus performers, including many Koori cubs of all ages.
I will admit that I did not pay much attention to most of the show. During the non-Koori acts, I was studying the crowd, and trying to peer behind the scenes, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Koori that were back stage. When the Koori acts were performing, I studied each Koori intently, looking for a face I might recognize, trying to guess if any of them might be the Koori female that was keeping my son away from me. When the Koori cubs were performing, I watched each one of them closely, eliminating each one in turn – the wrong sex, too young, too old, not the right shade of brown.
But then I saw him!!! I saw my son Dalan!!! I was sure it was him!! It had to be!! It was the only male Koori cub who was the right age, and his coat was the right color. If only I could get close enough to him, to see if he carries the unique marking of our line.
We stayed for the rest of the show, although it took every ounce of self control not to try and force my way back stage, to try and get a closer look at the cub that might be my son. I spent the rest of the show watching the gap in the curtains, for the small glimpse I could see of backstage, hoping for another look at my son.
After the show was over, Ulgaden and I took up a position a distance away, where we could watch the people leaving the circus – waiting for the circus workers to leave so we could try to follow them to where they stay.
When they did finally appear, I watched closely and was able to identify the Koori who seems to be acting as Dalan’s caretaker, or mother figure. I watched closely to see how she interacted with him. If she treated him in a loving and motherly manner, or if she treated him the way that a guard might treat a prisoner. The answer to this question would determine if I thank her… or if I kill her. I was relieved to see that her treatment of him seemed to be of a caring nature.
We managed to follow the circus folk to a handful of small houses, and were able to identify which house Dalan and the Koori occupied. We watched for a short time, and noticed that there seemed to be quite a bit of guard activity between the houses. When it appeared that quite a few guards seem to be gathering at, and watching the Koori house, we decided to leave before we aroused suspicion. Now that I know where Dalan is, and I know that he is safe, I can take my time to make sure that I handle this correctly. The last thing I want to do is to cause them to pack Dalan up and take him somewhere else, where I might never be able to track him down again.