The Red Griffin

Dear Aelise,

I am staying at the Red Griffin tavern, which overlooks the waterways of the Istoni, and I can sense an undertone of tension in the air, which must have gave me the sense of unease yesterday. There was an absence of boats in the river, and an overwhelming presence of the City Guard in their yellow and blue drifting up and down the river, watching and searching each barge and craft as they come in.

The good news is that I am in the care of an old and dear friend. The barkeep, Red, is an acquaintance of mine and it seemed like it was not too long ago that I enjoyed his company on the road. He is doing quite well, probably due to the huge axe he likes to hang behind him. He told me he had never an occasion to bring out ‘ole Thirstbringer’. Most of his patrons are in awe of that axe, and that is probably why his tavern is the safest place to be. He is an old adventurer, a little gruff, but for the most part he usually means well. It is heartening to see that he even has had time to settle down and start a family! He has a daughter, slightly younger than you, who luckily for him has no resemblance to him and takes after her mother for the most part. Quite an endearing little girl ­– I’m sure the two of you would have been very good friends.

I took a trip down the street, taking Tat with me, since he does not take well to being alone. The streets still throng with people as I remember it, but the Small Trade district, which I felt was the life of the city, was gone. The city has not yet begun its rebuilding efforts here yet. Only a few makeshift stalls stand here, trying to peddle off cheap goods at twice their cost. I was about to head to the Administrative Quarter, but the ruins blocked my way. It’s a pity. One cannot say that they have been to the Twins without having stood in the middle of the four tall buildings that make up the Administrative Quarter. It was quite splendid in my memory.

I was however, able to visit the Square Plaza. There in the middle was a stone plaque, upon which a simple line was carved: Here lies the ground where the Gorgons of Whitewater stood their last.

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