Tuesday, September 26, 2006


After the Viscount’s meeting, you break away from the rest of the party and head across the Velverdyva to the Laughing Rogue. The swirling snow powder whips around you, and you’re glad to see the hostel come into sight. You pass through the thick wooden door and into the building. The barkeep, a sickly sort is unloading a crate of wine at the bar on your left when he breaks into a fit of coughing. He puts a dirty rag up to his mouth and spits, then continues his work. The large, open courtyard has a fresh blanket of snow to accompany the vulgar snow sculptures crafted by the hostel’s patrons. The courtyard is surrounded by a covered deck, with tables. In an alcove on each side of the square courtyard, under the covered section, a large fire helps to take the edge off the cold.

The sickly-looking barkeep, Chester, looks up as you come in and squints at you, as if trying to recall your face. His face is heavily lined and he has deep dark circles under his eyes. As the barkeep studies you, a tall lithe half-elf gets up from a table near the back of the courtyard. There are two other robed figures at the table, but they remain seated. The half-elf makes his way over to you. His perfect teeth glimmer in the shadows as he walks over toward you. “Thanks, Chester. This is..,” he looks at you and then nods as if deciding something. “This is Robyn, a new recruit.” The barkeep nods and smiles weakly before bursting into a fresh coughing fit.

“Poor guy, Chester. He’s never been right since his run-in with those bastards. Anyway. I’ve found a buyer for that black dragon’s egg that you were looking to get rid of. The men at the table back there,” he nods his head in their direction, “represent the buyer. I’ve negotiated a reasonable price, but they wanted to meet you first.” Illusk walks back toward the table he just left.

“Gentlemen,” he says, bowing, “this is the lady who has what you want.”
The two men at the table mutter their consent, nod at you and gesture at an available chair. The men confer in an unfamiliar, drawling dialect of elven, and the older one switches to common. “We are interested in your gift, and especially the possibility of more like it. You will give us this egg, yes?”
Illusk frowns and says, “We agreed on a price, friend sage.”

A brief look of frustration passes over the older man’s face, followed by a gracious smile. “Of course, forgive me, my friend. My mind slips at times. Now then, the agreed price was,” the old man looks around and leans in to whisper, “5000gp. Shall we pick up negotiations there?” The old man reaches into a pocket in his cloak and takes out a small earthenware pot of ink, a strip of parchment, and two quills. He pushes the ink, parchment, and a quill over to you and looks at you expectantly.

The prices continue to fluctuate back and forth, growing closer together as you pass the parchment back and forth, and finally a value is agreed upon. Illusk excuses himself and steps out of the hostel. In a few minutes, he returns carrying a small strongbox and a sheet of official-looking parchment. He has you and the old man sign the parchment, some sort of transfer of funds. Then he gives the strongbox to the old man and his companion. “We’ve had a specialist take a look at this. He told me to tell you that the egg was only laid a few months ago. It could still be over a year before it hatches. Right now, the strongbox is airtight, and the egg is sitting in a weak acid bath. He says to make sure you replace the acid bath every few days.”

The two men quickly depart after their prize is transferred. Illusk waves the barman over and orders two drinks, then leans over the table. “Those two were servants of the Shadow Sages, from the Valley of the Mage, west of the Lortmils. Someone in the Bloodied Fist must be working for the Shadow Sages too. I’m sure the Tusk would be interested to know that.” He pauses and grows silent.
“Speaking of the Tusk,” he begins, choosing his words carefully, “there is another band of thieves who have been causing some little uproar among the Bloodied Fist. They’re calling themselves the Wayward Children. Right now, its just a minor annoyance to the Tusk, but some of the lower-level thieves and beggars loyal to the Fist have deserted and joined the Children, so he’s starting to take notice. Well. I thought you should know, use that information how you will.” Illusk finishes his drink and lays a few silver on the table, then walks into the blustery afternoon.

A few days later, while you’re relaxing at Degolar’s house, a servant delivers a sealed letter to you. You open it and find a line of instructions.

Come alone to the Thieves Highway, between the Guild of Brewers and Bakers and Kiles, tonight at midnight. –Illusk

When you arrive atop the building between the Guild of Brewers and Bakers and Kiles Spice Shop, you see the cloaked figure of Illusk standing near a well-worn but sturdy wooden table. There is also another figure with their face cloaked. The person is smaller, possibly a gnome or halfling. There are a variety of items on the table, gleaming in the moonlight. Many of them look expensive, wands, rods and staves, with a few items that don’t really fall into any category.

Illusk speaks quietly, with a slight smile on his face. “I’m sure you know my companion. I’ll leave you two now.” He bounds over to the next building, then the next, with graceful leaps and near silence.

The hooded figure speaks and you recognize her voice right away. “Hello, Leelu. You are interested in becoming more versatile with magic devices? Your dangerous friend Illusk has hired me to teach you what I can. You will meet me here every night for the next five weeks and we’ll see if I can make an adept out of you.” She pushes back her hood to reveal her identity, Mia Dragonslayer. “I’m not sure how that assassin found me, all the way up in the land of Black Ice, but he did. Don’t breathe a word of my presence to anyone.”


Degolar said...

*smiling* Mia Dragonslayer

Leelu said...

I find it funny that Mia would agree to help me—she hates me.

Other than that, maybe we should question our little tagalong boy about these Children.

tiger said...

Does she hate you more than she likes money?

Hadrian said...

Mia and Leelu together... well, no good can come of that.