The music – if in fact music it could be called – had attracted a small assembly of caravaneers and merchants outside the closed iron gate of Grobar. The usual sounds of livestock and petty arguments about suppliers were replaced this morning by the unusual sound of metal banging on stone as the diminutive, blue-haired footling skipped alongside the enormous, sturdy blocks that made up the foundation of Grobar’s walls dragging his makeshift instrument along the coarse face of the weathered limestone. As the sun rose, more spectators gathered and watched from a measured distance – as though they feared the guardsmen, leaning on their javelins and observing from the wall above, would deem the strange event illegal and have them all imprisoned for association.
No such event took place, however. And as the gates began to creak upwards, signalling the opening of the city to traffic and commerce, the odd noises slowed to a halt as the small figure put his metal instrument into its holster, fastened his suspenders, and strode into the port city with the confidence of a creature three times his size.
The area surrounding the main gate of Grobar is known as Gryphon’s Plaza – so-called for reportedly being the landing place of the Flying Knights’ winged mounts during the Consolidation War that united the continent centuries ago. Today, however, Gryphon’s Plaza hosts the city’s humble Western Marketplace where merchants travelling by land peddle their wares to the denizens too spendthrift to visit the more prestigious (and expensive) Southern Bazaar. So early in the morning, the Western Marketplace was barely stirring with activity as some local merchants began the daily ritual of making their stalls presentable and exchanging pleasantries with the incoming traders.
One such trader was Æthelflynn who had been waiting by the gate as the footling sauntered through. With her curiosity piqued she followed the small fellow through the marketplace, endeavoring to determine the strange creature’s purpose in the city. After all, a story can be just as valuable as silver to the right audience.
As the morning went on and the crowds picked up in earnest, the footling went from stall to stall leaving behind a wake of confused faces and nervous smiles. When the merchants went to their homes later that night, they would tell their children and spouses about the peculiar footling, with long blue hair poorly tied into a messy ponytail, who approached them and vigorously introduced himself as “Davenport Fizzlewinks – Aspiring Composer, Travelling Bard, and Tinker Extraordinaire!” The traders might continue over dinner, describing the list of unusual goods and requests the footling had made – none of which any of those present would have been able to requisition, if they had understood them at all. And as the moon came overhead and the main gate of Grobar closed once again until morning, the confused stallkeepers might finally wonder why, later that day, Æthelflynn, or “Flynn” as they knew her, didn’t respond to their greetings as she weaved through the crowd holding a strange metal object.