His body arched on the table as JordanCromwell's
first breath poured itself into his body. Eyes wide and handsscrabbling
in confusion, he couldn't comprehend his surroundings. It
took a fewminutes before he realized the figures around him
were healers, trying to calmhim.
A bald, dark-skinned man with a simple robe held Jordan's
hand in his, his facea mask of serenity. "Be at ease,
lad. You are safe here, and quite alive.Lay back and rest,
you've only just returned to us. You are safe, here inWintermoor."
The healer went to work applying bandages, and casting spellsof
healing where the bandages failed. Jordan drifted back off
Some time later, Jordan awoke again. The feeling of emptiness
and panic quicklygrew again, but he managed to control it,
barely. He sat up in the bed, lookingabout the room. A folded
grey robe was on a table next to the bed, and atop thatsat
his lantern, ever glowing. Relieved, he got to his feet and
stretched,making sure no injuries remained. Unfolding the
robe and covering himself withit, he started searching through
the pockets. The wave of panic rose again as herealized his
necklace was not there. Only the sound of the healer's voice
behindhim stopped him from losing control.
"I thought you might be hungry," said the healer,
placing a tray offood down on the table.
"Where are all of my belongings? Is this all I have left?!?"
Jordanwaved the lantern in front of the man's face. His other
hand scratched idly athis neck.
"We have no need of your possessions, sir, and we ask
no payment forreturning you to this world. What you hold is
all that returned with you. Pleasesit, and eat. Tell me what
Still fighting with the unreasonable panic, Jordan sat wearily
and took a biteof cheese. His hunger awakened, he took a few
more bites. Several minutes passedwhile his body's needs took
control of his mental needs. Popping a muffin in hismouth,
Jordan began his tale.
"I'd recently been contacted by several parties, all
seeking differenttypes of gems, although all for the same
purpose. Now I'm a businessman; I don'tparticularly care why
they sought these gems. I only care that their searchbrought
them to me. Apparently I was in the possession of one or more
gems thathad magical properties, although I had not noticed
any such gems. I've spent thelast few days taking inventory
and gathering all the requested gems. Even afterclosely inspecting
all my gems, I could discern no special traits in any ofthem.
Sure, some were clearer or finer cut, but no two gems are
The monk nodded silently, and Jordan washed down his food
with wine andcontinued. "Earlier today I sold my citrines
off to a lovely young lady, ata sizeable profit. However,
she was unsure if she held the gem she was searchingfor, and
so bought my stock of amber as well. Confident she was now
in charge ofher destiny, she returned home and I went in search
of my other client."
"I was unable to locate either him or his guild, so I
returned home. Ashort time later, I received a visitor. He
introduced himself as Smogg Azalin,and claimed to be looking
to make a gift of a precious gem for his more preciouswife,
Reminisence. Besides the fact that I normally care not what
my clients dowith items they seek, I also did not want to
scare this potential buyer away byrevealing his reason as
a falsehood. It's something I'm used to doing as abusinessman,
after all. People tend to be less than truthful when they
are insearch of something of value to them." Jordan realized
he was staring offinto space, and looked at the monk. "But
"As is often the case, my visitor inquired about my more
unique items. Heseemed particularly interested in my lantern,
and wished to add that to thepurchase of the gem. After repeatedly
telling him it was not for sale, he askedto hear the tale
of how I acquired it. He summoned his librarian, Annatar,
tolisten to the tale as well. I told my tale of the lantern,
and we starteddiscussing the value of such tales. Smogg claimed
to have a complete account ofThe Ballad of the Mournful Soldier,
which made me curious, to say theleast."
"Annatar and I started talking about his library, which
he claimed was oneof the largest in the world. I have to say
that my interest in his boast made meless than cautious in
dealing with these two men. I agreed to travel with themto
see this library, in hopes of finding a new place to do my
"We traveled here to Wintermoor, to the Wintermoor Medical
Archives. Theybriefly showed me the medical facility on the
first floor, and then escorted meto the upper floor, which
housed the library. I must admit it was one of thefiner libraries
I've seen. It contained books on many subjects, and was easy
tobrowse through. I was inquiring what tomes were located
in the backroom, and wastold there were tomes of secret knowledge.
Smogg, partly joking I assume, askedif I would trade the lantern
for entry into the back room, which I of course didnot accept.
We then heard the downstairs door open, and someone enter
thebuilding. Smogg said that his wife had arrived, and went
to greet her."
"Annatar and I were discussing books amongst the shelves,
when I looked outthe window and noted orcs staring at me from
a window in a nearby house. Icommented on how odd it was to
see such a thing, when suddenly I heard manyfootsteps and
words of magic come from behind me." Jordan paused, his
facestarting to frown in thought. "My memory starts to
get blurry here. I washit with several spells, but fortunately
managed to duck behind a bookshelf toshield myself from most
of it. I remember trying to reach for my sword...theworld
going grey as I stared at booted feet, and hooves..."
Jordan shook his head to clear his thoughts. Shrugging, his
hand unconsciouslytouching his neck, he said, "And then
I awoke to seeing you."
"Well, I thank you for telling me what occurred."
The monk stood andpicked up the now empty tray. "Please
feel free to stay here as long as youwish."
Jordan stood as well. "I've been too much a burden already.
I thank you forrestoring me back to health, but I must return
home. I need to ... search forsomething I've lost..."
The monks provided Jordan with warm clothes to deal with the
snow outside, andtold him where in Wintermoor he could find
transport. Jordan again gave histhanks, and walked away among
the buildings and snow, fear in his eyes, his handall too
often reaching for his bare neck.
From the Town Cryer - The Journal of Ultima Online,