31. Plenty of Fish in the Sea, eh???

Rosella crossed the countryside of Tamir enjoying the fresh air on her way toward the Fisherman’s cabin.  He lived
humbly by the shoreline with his wife at the end of a magnificent dock that reached out into the vast ocean.  Upon
reaching the simple cabin, the princess rapped at the door gently with her slender hand.  She heard a shuffling from
inside, and moments later the door opened revealing a middle aged woman of a homely presentation.  If she was
surprised to see the young princess again, her face didn’t betray the fact.  The fisherman’s wife merely ushered the girl
inside with a wave her of hand.  Rosella dipped a short bow in gratitude, slipping in past the aging women.  She took
note of the woman’s aged and stained dress and the shawl hanging over her hunched shoulders, fraying badly at the
ends.  After closing the door behind the girl, the fisherman’s wife hobbled over to the table, pulling out a chair for
Rosella to sit.  The princess blushed, and graciously sat down, crossing her legs.  The old woman’s outfit it turned out,
was a summary of the rest of the cabin.  The table was a cluttered mess, the mattress straw; what was left of it, was
coming out onto the floor where most of the stitching had come undone.  The clothes that were lying around showed
years of wear, and holes to prove it.  Rosella suddenly felt very self-conscious.  She pulled her skirt across her legs to
conceal her lavish sheer white stockings where they had been exposed when she sat down.  They were extravagant and
opulent, and contrasted the old woman’s own thick and knitted hosiery.  Her polished black heels, even her long washed
hair seemed over the top in the sadness of the fisherman’s cabin.

After many moments of silence, Rosella got the old woman to open up in short bits of dialogue.  She lamented the
recent shortage of fish in the sea, and blamed the wickedness of that witch (by “that” she meant Lolotte, best Rosella
could guess), despite her dear husband’s best efforts at the dock, day and night trying to catch some fish to provide for
his beloved wife.

“What is it that Lolotte did to scare away all the fish,” asked the concerned young princess.

“It’s been this way ever since those creatures were out there flying around over the water.  They’re evil you know.  They’
re evil, and the bring evil with them, leave it when they’ve gone,” she said.  By creatures, Rosella guessed that the
fisherman’s wife was referring to Lolotte’s henchmen.  While once normal humans, they were taken captive by Lolotte
and twisted by her wicked magic.  Despite retaining their human form, their skin was bleached white, fingers with claws,
gnashing teeth, devilish red eyes, and perhaps most horrifying, giant leathery bat wings upon their backs.  They fly
around her castle keeping guard and do the evil witch’s bidding.

“Why would Lolotte send her henchmen out this way?  What could she possibly want in the ocean?” asked a confused

“It’s not what she wants, dear.  I fear it’s what she wants to get rid of.  Her goons dropped a strong box into the depths of
that ocean and I’m sure it contains something she wants nobody in Tamir to know about.”

“But you know about it.  Do you know where it is?” the interest in Rosella’s tone was hardly disguised.  Anything Lolotte
wanted hidden from Tamir, had to be of some use to her quest.

“I…” the old woman was about to answer the princess’s questions when she stopped herself.  She looked at the
beautiful young girl’s poise in the way she sat, and the luxurious clothes on her body, thought about the misery that was
her current existence, and she stopped.  Another idea popped into her desperate mind.  “I do know about it.  And in
fact… my husband knows where it is.”

“He does!?  Could he tell me?  I would be grateful.” Rosella interjected excitedly.

“He could.  But I’m afraid my husband and I can’t go on much longer like this.  He works so hard, but has yielded nothing
as of late.”

“What are you saying?” inquired to newly confused young lady.

“A lavishly dressed girl as yourself certainly must have a great fortune of wealth.  A wealth you might trade for the
location of the strong box.”

“I would… but I… I’m far from my kingdom.  This dress is but a show.  I have no wealth to give you here.”

“I see… I’m sorry to hear that.  I’m afraid that I cannot help you young miss.  Please leave and come back when you
have found the wealth we seek, and you shall have the location of the strong box,” said the fisherman’s wife ushering for
Rosella to get up and go.  She felt terribly guilty by her negotiations, but her desperation got the better of her.  She
simply could not watch her husband sit at the end of the docks another day with nary a fish to show for his devotion.  
Rosella would have to come through if she wished to find where the henchmen dropped the strong box.

Rosella thought better than to argue with the resolute old woman.  She gracefully stood and left the cabin wondering
where in Tamir she could find a source of wealth to aid the poor fisherman and his wife.  She would have to find out in
order to get the location she sought after.  If not, she would have to swim around the ocean and try to find the box on
her own.  Where will she go?

The Crypt

The Haunted Mansion

The Dwarves' Mine

The Dwarves' House

The Ogre's House

The Witches' Cave

The Ocean

Lolotte's Castle