The Continuing Adventures of Sif No. 28

Sif forced herself to relax as a pair of city guardsmen passed them. Even though she was on the right side of the law for the first time in her life, they still made her nervous.

They came to a corner. She looked up, got her bearings, and turned down a side street.

“Are we nearly there?” Lilja wondered.

Sif nodded. “We should be. Right around here…”

They turned another corner and found themselves back on a major avenue. Kvarnstrasse, Mill Street, if Sif was remembering her city geography. They crossed it, running between a pair of wagons, and found themselves before a singular building.

Unlike most of the structures in the Riverfronts, it was not wholly made from wood. The first three floors, about ten yards on a side, were built of stone blocks. Slit windows flanked a heavy wooden door facing Kvarnstrasse, set deep into the wall. Once, it had been a guard house.

The top three floors were log-built, obviously a later addition, and jutted out over the lower floors by a yard. A covered wooden staircase spiraled around the lower floors, worn smooth over the years by heavy use.

“It looks taller from this close,” Lilja observed.

Sif shrugged. “It’s only twenty yards. My window is higher up.”

“You don’t have to climb the outside of the tower to get to your window, though,” said Einar.

Sif tilted her head and nodded, conceding the point.

The three magiker wound their way up the stairs to the fifth floor. Over the door was a sign, swinging from a chain. The runes carved into it read, “Yngvar’s,” above an engraved picture of a bed and a cauldron.

Sif opened the door and went inside.

The room she stepped into filled the whole twelve-yard square of the tower. Enormous, many-paned windows centered in each wall gave an unparalleled view of the Riverfronts, at least on clear days. Today, Sif saw nothing but gray through them. Surrounding the windows was a collection of trophies from wars past. A large club, Sif suspected, had once belonged to one of the jötnar, in the golden age of the Norrmannrike. Scaled-down shields bearing an insignia of crossed, double-headed hammers featured around the room, the standard of the dweorgr kings. There were even a few of the white-on-red tribal banners of the ontr, which she still found unsettling.

Tables were scattered around the outside of the room, largely unoccupied at this time of day. A square bar, four yards on a side, took up the middle. In turn, in the center of the bar was an enormous brick chimney, rising through the roof. Kettles bubbled on flat surfaces at its base, and iron doors covered ovens built into its sides. Warmth rolled off it in waves.

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