On the way back to the reverend, I decided to take a detour and explore the area on the other side of the river, bellow the city walls.
I soon stumbled into the cave that rich merchant from the inn was talking about. It was immediately obvious why his friend was missing. The cave was infested with carnivorous plants and the friend didn’t manage to get away. I found his body at one of the deeper parts of the cave, after fighting through most of the plants.
I returned to the reverend and told him of my findings. He wasn’t happy about what I said, obviously hoping I would somehow find Abigail to be the culprit, but he accepted it. He decided not to be of any further help, though, so I was stuck.
Odo, Haren and Mikul were obviously the most influential people there, but they would not cooperate without the reverend on my side. Fortune favors the helpful, though. As I was heading back to the inn, I was stopped by a beggar, asking for my help. The old woman was sick and needed White Gull to get better. It just so happens I had a few of those on me, so I gave her one. She was so grateful for what I did, she gave me a ring she stole from the reverend after he refused to help her.
Haren had slightly bigger issues. The riverbank next to his house was plagued by drowners every night and his merchandise, which was stored outside, was in danger of getting destroyed. I got rid of the drowners easily, but got into trouble afterwards. It turns out; the shipment was meant for a band of Squirrels.With the ring in hand, I managed to convince Haren, Odo and Mikul that the reverend sent me. Odo had a problem with some weeds of the extremely dangerous type in his front yard. I disposed of it, but not after he got me seriously drunk, hoping he would convince me to accept a smaller payment. It worked, to a degree, but I still took a lot of his money. As I was leaving his house, I noticed his dog acting extremely suspiciously, like he was guarding the spot where the carnivorous plant was.
The “Squirrels” or the Scoia’tael is an activist group, mostly consisting of non-human races, which appeared in the north as a consequence of the rampant racism. Apparently, Haren was trading with them. Of course, he wasn’t there to confirm that, so I had to resort to my own judgement. I decided to trust their claims and let them take the shipment. Luckily, I was right. Haren confirmed the shipment was for them when I returned.
Last was Mikul. He needed someone to clear a crypt nearby, so I was the perfect guy for him. He gave me the key, and I immediately went to it. I made a campfire near the entrance to rest and brew a couple of Cat potions, so I could see in the dark better.
The cave was infested with ghouls, but it also had something very valuable. There was a circle of elements inside, teaching me the Igni sign. I can now use magical fire against my enemies. There was something else inside the cave, right at the entrance – a body of a dead woman, with an empty flask in her hand. Whatever it was she drank, was obviously poisoned.
I returned to Mikul and told her about the body. He said it must be “his bellowed Ilsa”, but his grief was not very convincing. In fact, come to think of it, each and every one of them – Odo, Haren, Mikul, even the reverend; they were all hiding something.
It was time to find out what. I returned to the reverend to find out he finally took in Alvin. I spoke to the boy and he seemed fine with it, so I decided not to say anything. I told the reverend what I did and demanded he gave me some information about the salamandra. He told me there was an abandoned home they use as a hideout and sent me to the inn to get the key to it from the innkeeper.
I was finally close to my goal.