“Fruben Daleborn? One of the Daleborns?”

Fruben let out a sigh. It was the same routine each and every time he came by the apothecary whenever the old shopkeeper was around. The old man was ancient, crippled, and deranged, which added nicely to the atmosphere of the shop he kept, but made Fruben’s regular restocking of mystical reagents a tiresome chore. More of a chore, he thought.

Fruben would’ve liked an apprentice to deal with such things. A sturdy young lad who’d be amusingly traumatized by the ramblings of the demented old shopkeep, rather than merely frustrated like himself.

“Yes, Fruben. No, not one of the Daleborns. My family’s never even been to the valley.” Fruben muttered under his breath: “Nor shall they ever be, you foggy old crust.”

The Daleborns, to which the old shopkeep alluded, were a family of fantastic wealth and prestige, who’d famously forged a trade empire that spanned the length of the Wyvernspire Peaks. Fruben, on the other hand, had come by the name quite by accident — “Daleborn” was a corruption of his grandfather’s name, which had been of goblin origin and was thoroughly unpronounceable without a throat full of phlegm.