The sun is setting when I crawl out of the bandit lair. Sara Oakheart is nowhere to be seen, which means she swam across this lake and vanished into the woods in the time it took me to riffle through Toradan's pockets, step over his corpse, and then walk ten paces to the front door of the cave and shove it open.
I kind of feel like I need to report this mess to the proper authorities. But who? Ellie? She's only interested in poaching. She'd have me hunt down a band of chattering brigand squirrels or something. Jon Brackenbrook? Nah. He doesn't even care about his own town. Ah! I can go to constable Underhill.
I give Underhill the story: Amdir has turned into some sort of super-powerful wizard / wraith / swordsman / hunter / nutjob. He's got magic, fighting prowess, a sword, and is more crazy than a dozen Bilbos. (Bilbi?) All told, my efforts around this city killed a bunch of animals, poisoned the local woods, and released an evil wraith. The only thing I accomplished was that I killed a bandit leader with a hilarious name and saved the life of an old lady who deserves to die.
He's a bit put out when I explain about the poison and how I stole the ingredients, but he calms down once I explain about Skunkwood.
"The only thing I don't understand," I tell him, "Is why Toradan came so late. I mean, he said he'd be right behind me, but I was in there most of the day before he showed up.
"Ah. Perhaps I can shed some light on that," Underhill says. "Toradan did indeed leave just a few minutes after you, but he was sneaking."
"Yes. All crouched over and walking on tip-toe."
"But you saw him anyway, I take it?"
"Well, it was midday and he went right down the middle of the street, so yes. I doubt anyone missed him. Turned quite a few heads with all the stumbling."
"He fell over?"
"It's that long cloak of his. Kept getting underfoot. And he couldn't see where he was going on account of that hood. He kept bumping into people. Then he'd do this little somersault to one side, land in the bushes, then tumble out and keep right on creeping."
"I guess that explains why he wasn't around when he was needed."
"Took him the better part of the afternoon just to get to the end of the street."
"Well, he's dead now," I say with as much tact as I can muster.
"Alas. Lizbeth at the Comb and Wattle Inn won't have to decode any more secret messages when he wants some food sent up to his room. I think she really liked those. At any rate, you should let his people know that he's gone and that Amdir is loose. You should go see Constable Tanglerush in Staddle, she'll know how to get in touch with the rangers."
Off to Staddle then. It's a long hike.