A Dwarf and an Ellyl walk into a Marketplace...
Saturday October 23
Strolling the Market
Once they are out of the manor and on their way to the front gates Fortis realizes their group may draw too much attention and linger too long in the memory. “Perhaps it would be best if we were not so remarkable a pair.” Fortis thinks for a moment. “Dwarves are known to travelin clans if I recall correctly.” A moment later a sturdy Dwarf is standing next to Arn right where Fortis had been hovering immediately before. “Good day to you brother” he says in an extremely gruff voice “My name is Frump Basalt, from up near Deeprose Gorge. It will be a pleasant day trading with you at my side friend Arn.” With that unexpected twist Frump snaps his fingers for Brutus to follow and they tread through the archway into the city street.
|Fortis as Frump|
Arn steps back a moment to take in Fortis in his new guise. “Hrrrmmmm, I think this is finally something ye got right. Ye almost look right like a nice young clan dwarf from the mining guild or merchant guild.”
As the companions approach the market their eyes, ears and nostrils are assaulted by all manner of sensations, from oddly appealing unidentifiable animal bits grilling on smoking hibachis to the dung of passing oxen and everything in between seems to fight for attention. Hawkers crying the uniqueness of their identical wares compete so shout louder than their neighbors, adding to the impressive din. Their first stop is a weasley looking trader hawking ‘Gear and goods for the discriminating gentleman of fortune’ out of a modest storefront near the fountain in the first square of the market. The balding man greets Arn and Frump as they walk through the doorway from the plaza outside “Welcome to my emporium, I am Malcom Gladwell, owner and proprietor of this establishment, how can I address your equipment needs this fine morning?”
“Hail there and well met Malcom. My companion and I have come into possession a quantity of some slightly ‘used’ goods we no longer have any need for. We were hoping that you would be willing to discuss sale or trade.”
After a moment Fortis interjects. “We have a number of items and, knowing your reputation as an honest broker even though we have only been resident a short while, we thought it best to offer you first pick of the lot.”
Malcolm steps over toward the pair of Dwarves and smiles, “You are too kind, brother Dwarf. Thank you thank you.” He steps outside to look at the merchandise in the wheelbarrow. He eyes Brutus cool then examines the pile of weapons. “Hmm. Well used I see. I always say battle tested is the only way to go! Looks like you're not ones to maintain your weapons very well. Hmm. I'll give you 500 silver for the lot, including the wheelbarrow.” He folds his fingers together and smiles out of the corner of his mouth.
Fortis looks the man over and notices that he bears a few items of magical quality. One ring on each hand and a bit of a necklace tucked under his shirt have the telltale glow of enchantment.
A Thief and an Oath
While he is distracted by the magic items, Fortis misses a dirty young man slinking up nearby. A loud crash follows as the man grabs a cutlass handle that had been sticking out of the pile. Swords and axes fall to the cobbled street as the thief absconds with the weapon.
Arn starts to counter offer Malcom as the thief makes good on his escape. “This lot is worth far more than…...Wat the heck?” Arn turns and see’s the thief go for the sword in an attempt to make off with the cutlass. Arn reaches out to fast-draw his enchanted “bat mace” and as the mace appears in his hands, he hurls it at the thief, aiming for his legs.
The thief goes down with the sound of his scream overshadowed by a cracking sound that comes from his mangled leg. He lays on the street moaning and writhing in pain as a crowd gathers around.
Malcolm gasps and quickly retreats back into his shop to watch from the shadows of the doorway.
Frump strides over to the little thief with the crippled leg. “This appears to be an uncomfortable situation for you young man. I expect you are going to have a tough time in prison with only one working leg. It appears to be beyond my ability to repair. I wonder… would you prefer that I have you take an oath of obedience to that warrior whose rightly won spoils you attempted to purloin and then I heal you as best I can, which will probably still leave you lame, or do you think you would rather take your chances in the cell with the other miscreants? What is your name by the way?”
|Fedik the Unfortunate|
“Fedik,” the prone man blurts out between cries of pain. “Yes, yes Master Dwarf. Many apologies. My family is in a cart one island over. It's got a broken wheel. I just needed some money for food and to pay a wheelwright to repair it. I'll do whatever, please just fix my leg. Owww!” Fedik rolls over, gripping his crippled leg.
‘Kneeling’ down next to the distressed thief Frump looks him squarely in the eye. “Well Fedik, I’ve got a bunch of questions I’m going to need answers to, and maybe a few things my brother Dwarf will need taken care of to compensate him for his need to become violent with you. He is gentle soul and has a strong distaste for bludgeoning the weak and the foolish.” Frump’s pointed stare leaves no doubt about the object of his last sentence.
“I’ll consider fixing your leg to the best of my skill and letting you avoid incarceration if you will take a sufficiently binding Oath.” He wave Arn over. “Arn, how long would you think this lad here would need to fetch your ale and clean your armor to repay you for his transgressions against you?”
“I would say perhaps a fortnight should suffice,” the Dwarf says with a wry grin.
Frump raises his eyebrows at Arn’s lenience. “Well then, a fortnight for you, and a fortnight for me since healing spells are so exhausting.” The ‘dwarf’ looks down at Fedik and says “Repeat this oath exactly and I will do what I can for your leg…”
Fortis casts an Oath spell “I, Fedik, promise to never steal from Arn or his companions again, furthermore, as penance for my crime, I will serve my healer until the next full moon and then the warrior Arn for the fortnight following until the moon hides her face again. I will obey them in all things while in their service.” Frump pauses for Fedik to repeat the promise before dispensing any healing should the miscreant decide to accept the offer of clemency and service. After the young man gulps and repeats the oath Frump asks Arn to straighten the leg and Fortis casts a Major Healing spell on the injured thief. “Fedik, I will be asking you a number of questions in the next few days, and having you complete a number of tasks, but you should prepare for service with Arn as well, I suspect it will not be easy.”
After capturing the the thief, Arn will argue that the price is ¼ the value of what the items are. Arn will counter for 50%, especially since they stopped a possible robbery. Arn and Malcom go back and forth a bit, and eventually settle upon a price that makes both happy. Arn’s brutal stoppage of the thief no doubt played a hand in his favor.
Not having forgotten about the interesting jewelry Frump tries to get a better look at the rings and necklace. After concluding their haggling and agreeing on a price Frump admires the rings more openly “I must tell you those a some beautiful rings you are wearing, if you were ever inclined to describe their provenance I'd be delighted to hear the tale. Perhaps next time we are in to add to your stock you would consider it.”
Malcolm seems a bit put off by Frump’s questions about his personal belongings and does not speak of it but just nods and says “Next time,” and bids the two Dwarves farewell.
Back outside, Fedik sits against the wall of Malcom’s shop, Brutus standing over him, watching. The dirty young man holds his leg and sighs, “Don't think there's any way I'll be walking on this thing again. It's done for. Don't hurt too much anymore though, thanks to your wondrous magic.” The group prepares to move on to their next stop and Brutus hoists Fedik up and deposits him in the wheelbarrow with the remaining plunder.
Parting with Plunder and Purchasing Potions
The rest of the excursion is pleasant and Frump does his best to keep Arn happy along the way, even going so far as to stop into a local grog-house for an after breakfast nip of ale as they make their way between merchants. Frump turns to Arn and remarks “We should probably shop around a bit for our remaining sales, we can time the transaction for just before lunch time when the merchants will be anxious to close a deal and get to their mid-day meals, or perhaps are just returned from an early lunch and are leaden with full bellies.” Frump peers over at a man with a treadle wheel outside the ale house. “There looks like a possible buyer” Frump and Arn move into the view of the hard working Gnome behind the honing wheel. “Good Afternoon my friend, we have in our possession a few extra knives you may be interested in reselling at some point if we can agree on a fair price.” Now that I think about it, we probably should have come here first and let him work over the blades we were trying to sell and let him keep a few of the knives as payment. That probably would have been smart. I should remember that for next time. A brief bit of haggling later and the last knife is passed off to a new owner.
An occasional good deal and a few questionable exchanges leave them with a respectable haul equivalent to 120 gold coins, but in much smaller denominations of course, which quickly disappears into Arn’s lockbox. Once the last weapon is sold Frump instructs Brutus to leave the wheelbarrow with Arn so that the dwarf can help his new protege move around the city. The muscular servant acknowledges the order the only way he can “Brutus” and walks into a narrow alley and sitting down with his back against a wall. In less than a minute he simply vanishes, much to the bewilderment of Fedik. “And now, Arn, we can get a bite to eat and discuss the potions you wanted to shop for. Were you looking to cover a specific ability of did you intend to just browse and see what ideas struck you?”
“Aye there lad.” the dwarf blurts out. “I’ve given thought, and I would like to have at least one healing potion, but would be open minded to nearly anything out there that could help us. Something that could allow me to fly or levitate, or even swim, or become resistant to fire, or climb walls or something, even breathing fire like a dragon.” Arn looks around a bit. “Having a Major healing potion will be good, take emergency pressure off of our healers. I would like a water-breathing potion as well. I also think that some of the holy water and a vial or 2 of alchemist fire would do us nicely.”
Frump looks at his companion “Far be it from me to dissuade you from lightening the burden on our healers Brother Dwarf, but when we are paying for single use items, how would you rate the relative importance of duplicate abilities and enhancements covering gaps in our group’s spell repertoire?” The other ‘dwarf’ shrugs. “Either way we probably want to move along and attend to our business with the Witchwardens before the day progresses too far. To look at the tally though, Water Breathing is $500, The Alchemist’s FIre is $100 each and Holy Water goes for $10 per vial. That seems pretty likely to be available. As for Fire resistance, the potions are $500 each, but for $5000 there was a cloak that would work repeatedly at Glittermane’s shop. As for breathing fire like a dragon, well we already know someone who can do that and besides, any potion like that is going to be very expensive, though I suspect it is possible to make if all of the ingredients were available.”
After their discussion Arn makes his purchases and the trio head out into the street again.
“I think before we conclude our day’s actions, we should get young Fedik here cleaned up and dressed properly. If he is going to serve me as a squire or assistant, he better be cleaned up a bit, and perhaps look into some leather armor and a suitable weapon for the lad. I’m not going to let him roam around with us outside the city unarmed. I could instruct him on using a mace, as it is a very simple weapon and doesn’t require as precise contact as a sword.”
Frump appears to enjoy the idea of preventing recidivism by having Fredrick learn a skill other than burglary, even if it is just smashing things with a metal stick. “Well, if you plan to take him as a squire and invest all this time and money in him don’t you want to know more about his background and loyalty first? Certainly he is brave… it cannot have been easy to work himself up to burgling two weapon laden warriors and a freakishly muscled porter carting around a wheelbarrow full of weapons. And the Fates and Furies know I have no cause to look down on someone doing something impulsive, but just make sure you aren’t disappointed if, after the Oath subsides, he declines to continue risking his life for our good company and your tutelage.” Frump smiles, indicating there is no malice in his caution to Arn. “I’m sure you don’t need me to help you with the training or the armor… wait a minute? I wonder… Arn, when we meet up again tonight I’d like to talk to you about everything you know regarding armor crafting. I have an idea that may save you a good bit of money if you put off buying him armor for a few days. Until then though, I’ll need my share of the profits before I go shopping, can you please divide out my portion?” After the real dwarf spends a few minutes sorting coins, the entire duration of which passes with Fedik watching in wide-eyed silent awe, Frump takes his leave of the Dwarven warrior and his new squire. “I’ll meet you back at the usual place.” he says before heading off to deal with the Witchwardens.
Arn and Fedik Get to Know Each Other
Arn bids “Frump” farewell and locks back up his money bag. Noticing the young lad’s reaction to the money, Arn comments to the human. “Ye see that lad? There used to be much more coin than that there. We’re behind on work and have many more missions to accomplish and much more treasure to find!”
Fedik looks upon the dwarf, wide eyed in hope yet also in caution, as he still can remember the intense pain of the dwarf’s mighty mace plowing him to the ground. The boy knew the dwarf could have killed him instantly, yet chose to just stop him.
Arn continues to speak with young Fedik. “Alright lad, we need to know more about ye since I spared yer life. Frump mentioned that you were beardy enough to try and steal from a couple of armed dwarf’s and a large man. That tells me either ye are brave, desperate, or stupid. Either one is a quality I can work with, I just need to know which one you are. Ye need to tell me where yer from, about yer family and why you were trying to steal from us.”
The dour dwarf takes a sip of ale from his skin, then continues on. “After ye tell me about yourself, I will tell you about me, Arn Ironfist and my companions and some of our adventures.”
Fedik tells Arn about his rough life, growing up the son of a pirate and smuggler and a washer women he occasionally raped when he was in town. He knew only violence and self preservation. He, bound by his oath to serve Arn and Fortis, is truthful about his current situation, which is just above homeless. He squats with some others under a dock between the Merchant and Sunrise Districts. They survive by petty theft and begging. Fedik tells Arn he really has no family waiting for him though hate does suppose he may have some children around town. He admits he was stealing the sword to sell for flayleaf, an addictive substance that makes one “numb to the pain” and turns your teeth red. Fedik smiles a red-toothed grin. “Really could use me some o’ that flayleaf to help with the pain. Do ya know anyone that selling any? It’s cheap this time o’ year, weather’s been good, growing lots of it out there, I been hearing.” Fedik looks at Arn with the hungry eyes of an addict.
Arn looks down on the dour boy with pity. Totally forgetting the amount of injury he inflicted. “Oh lad, I’m sorry there….I forget my own strength at times, and I should have taken a less destructive way of stopping ye.” Arn scoops up the kid and puts him in the wheelbarrow. “Okay there lad, here’s what I’m going to do, and this is normally against my grain, but I’m going to get ye fixed up and give ye a choice.”
Arn asks Malcom for directions back towards the healers. He thanks him again, and Malcom nods as Arn carts off the injured Fedik.
|Fedik gets a ride|
As they make their way through the streets, Fedik winces in pain whenever they hit a bump in the streets. Still, the lad can not conceal his reactions towards Arn’s strength. Carting the boy along with armor and equipment isn’t even winding the dwarf one bit. Arn continues to talk on their way.
“Well lad here’s the deal. Frump and my other companions will hold you to a magically bound oath. You will swear never to do ill towards me or my companions. You will not steal and you will tell the truth. Now I will give you a choice. You can be set free after serving me for a fortnight as my apprentice and squire. After that time, you can choose freedom, though I will warn you, that if I hear of you turning to a life of crime, I will hunt you down and dispatch justice on you personally. If you choose the other option, to serve as my squire and learn the way of the warrior and learn to defend the innocent and good of the lands. I will teach you how to fight and defend yourself, and my companions and I will teach you they way of adventure and the path to good deeds and glory. This choice I will leave to you, once your fortnight sentence to be my assistant is complete. “
Arn continues his way to the Healer’s where he can proper healing for Fedik as well as his crippled leg.
Fedik listens with a wide eyed stare, but after a few minutes, Arn is unsure whether he is truly interested in what he has been saying or if it is just the stare of an addict craving another fix. Asking around, Arn finally gets directions to the Temple of Apis the Healer, the primary church of the District.
Arn finally gets Fedik to the healers and asks them for aid for the evening. Arn explains that the young man was stopped harshly and he wishes to reset the man’s leg and avoid him being crippled. The healers inside are more than happy to do it and of course charge Arn their customary “donation” fee. Arn begrudgingly hands over the money, and tells them to do a good job setting the kid’s leg properly.
As the healers do their job with Fedik, Arn takes a moment to talk to him.“Look ‘ere lad…..I know that ye had a rough life. None of us can change where we come from, but we can change where we go from there. Your background as a pirate and thug can actually be useful. So after ye heal and have time off from thievery for a while and learn more about being an honest man. We can help you with food and services for your companions.However, I expect equal respect back to me and my companions. How would you like a chance to break away from the scum and villainy you reside with, and a chance at being a real hero first?”
Fedik shakes his head in affirmative, “I don’t know. Sounds dangerous, I’ll have to see after a month, but I’ll probably just go back to my same old ways of living off the street and the misfortune of others,” Fedik gasps as he tells this to Arn, then shrinks back, expecting an assault of some kind from the Dwarf and surprised at the honesty the Oath requires of him.
Arn looks up at the young human and his eyebrows raise up in surprise at Fedick’s comment. “Ye all too worried about thievin’ and getting that stupid flayleaf. I ain’t got none of yer leaf, but I do have LEFT. LEFTY in that regards.” Arn walks up to Fedick and brandishes his large, ornately studded gauntlet on his right hand.
“See this?!! This is LEFTY! Lefty hates thieves and flayleaf. It was Lefty that threw the mace at ye, not me Arn. Lefty wants ye dead. I’m showing mercy on ye, healing you up and fixin’ yer leg. Lefty thinks we’re wasting our time and money and he thinks he should just strangle you and leave you for dead. Is that what you want there kid? Because if it is, I’m not sure I can hold Lefty back.”
Fedick looks back at Arn as if he suddenly realizes that the dwarf may actually be crazier than he is. The dwarf’s eyes are bulging and blood-shot, spit coming from his mouth as he yells. Fedick is too horrified to answer, fearing not only the forced truth, but perhaps facing the rage of the now angered dwarf. “I-i-i-don’t know….” is all Fedick can blurt out.
Arn closes his eyes in a slow blink, and the madness that was once there seems to have subsided as a more clear-minded dwarf now speaks to Fedick.
“Here’s what’s going to happen Fedick. If ye want to stay here in town, that’s fine. You will serve me and my companions as an informant. You will be my eyes and ears in the alleys and streets. You will find and report information to me. I will allow you to live and do as you do in life, but know this, if you harm any children or your crimes are anything more than simply petty thievery, know that I will be back to hunt you down and turn Lefty loose upon you yet. I seek information and you can be useful to us in that capacity.”
A Visit to the Witchwardens Tower
After a few minutes Frump steps into an unoccupied alley and disappears, leaving Fortis to reemerge a moment later. The Ellyl moves back towards the Witchwardens tower, his freshly gravid purse seeming to pull him more forward than down. After a short trip Fortis arrives at the Witchwardens hall and seeks admittance. “Good afternoon, I have a small bit of business to conduct, but would also ask that I be allowed to speak to whomever it is who determines membership in your association. I am curious what one must do to learn and teach within your group. I had a brief conversation recently with Alzel and would ask to speak with him if he is available.”
After a few minutes Alzel appears at the door, again wearing a dark purple silk robe. “Ahh… hello my little friend from yesterday. I hope you have been able to find accommodations suitable to your status. Unfortunately you find us in the midst of something of a political and legal crisis at the moment. As you have probably heard, the Harbormaster was murdered last night and the city is roiling more vitriolically than a negligent alchemists unattended cauldron. Now what is it you need? And where is your charming companion from yesterday?”
|The Witchwarden's Seal|
The Ellyl sketches a flourish embellished bow while hovering at eye level. ”A good afternoon to you as well Alzel, though I do apologize for foregoing your appropriate title. Perhaps it would be best to start with formal introductions.My name is Maester Fortis Levenhander, formerly apprenticed to Maester Reginald Foeldsworth and originating from Borough Legash. My companion of last evening Is Valinya, a song mage. She will of course make her own formal introduction if and when she visits again. May I ask your title?”
Alzel grins at the litany ”Ahh my little Fey friend, We are not often so formal here, Though I am known to use titles when I need to travel abroad. My favorite is ‘Alzel, Summoner of the Final Ember’. It is something of an inside joke harkening back to a friend’s jibe when we were apprenticed together.” He then steps back and sweeps his arm into the entry hall. “Would you care to com in and continue our discussion in more comfort? Can I offer you refreshment Maester Fortis Levenhander of Borough Legash?”
Fortis returns the smile in an entirely goodnatured manner, aware of the incongruous pomposity he brought to a town in turmoil and with no established nobility. “I apologize for my overly formal introduction, but I am attempting to ensure there can be no perception of slight on the part of a group I seek to befriend. Please do just call me Fortis. Thank you for your kind invitation and I would very much like to conduct our discourse in the cool of the tower rather than in the heat of the afternoon sun.” He flies slowly across the threshold into the interior of the tower and, at Alzel’s direction, off to a small but well appointed side room containing a desk and a few chairs. “I am a bit parched, if you have a cool drink of water available I would like to take you up on that offered refreshment.”
Alzel moves to a side table and retrieves a silver ewer and a small crystal aperitif glass. “I’m afraid I don’t have anything in a smaller size. We are not often fortunate enough to host members of the Fey community, as so few of them pass our shores.”
Fortis shakes his head as if to say Think nothing of it while effortlessly calling forth a beautiful crystal vessel of his own. “I have learned to come prepared for these eventualities. It would be unfair for every race to expect special treatment in someone else’s domain.” He holds out the vessel and accepts a brief pour from the proffered ewer. “Thank you very much”
The fire mage hides his reaction to the created crystal tankard. “It is difficult for me to see the detail, but is that a replica of our tower?”
Fortis nods. “Yes it is, though unfortunately this particular cup will disappear like normally Created objects, if you like I can add to your collection of servingware with a more lasting copy, should you ever need to use one again.” Fortis raises his tankard towards Alzel and drinks deeply to relieve his thirst while the fire mage seats himself behind the desk with his own drink.
“Now, what is it I can do for you Fortis? You seemed to have quite a number of questions yesterday.” Alzel spreads his hands inviting the Ellyl to state his business.
Fortis settles himself onto the high back of a chair “As you know, my companions and I are recently arrived in your city. We are looking for ways to learn a few new spells, teach some of what we know to those who are interested and, depending on the duties, obligations and benefits, petition for membership in your group, should it be open for new inductees. What can you tell me about the requirements to become a Witchwarden? Is it separate from a normal apprenticeship?”
Alzel looks at the diminutive Ellyl seriously for a moment. “It is not every day we have someone asking for membership. As you might expect there are a number of strictures we place on our members, though none are too burdensome. Primary among them is maintaining the safety and security of our city. We would take quite some time to consider your petition. Are you certain you have the patience to dedicate months of time to our brotherhood?”
Fortis wrinkles his brow. “Unfortunately I’m uncertain of my ability to commit time that far in advance, our task is… fluid and unpredictable. That being said, I would still very much enjoy trading useful knowledge with you or members of your conclave. I am certain we each possess secrets the other would find useful to trade, with of course, a willingness on my part to promise not use those secrets in away that would compete with your business.” Fortis attempts to negotiate diplomatically.
Sensing Alzel’s hesitation Fortis decides to sweeten the deal “Of course, as a newcomer to the area and non-member I’d be happy to teach three spells for each two I learn” Well, they are primarily merchants after all. “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”
Alzel smiles. “I’m certain we can find some way to accommodate your interest in learning.”
The Witchwarden continues, “We are more than happy to provide you with available scrolls for your learning. You seem like an up and up gentleman and maybe we can come into an agreement on multiple purchases allowing us to wave some of the costs generally associated with custom spells. Since you will be learning from these scrolls, maybe we could also provide them to you uncharged, that will drop the cost somewhat as well. You could even return the blank scrolls and cases when done so our mages could prepare them with new spells. Any way to cut costs saves us all a bit of coin, I believe. Does this sound agreeable?”
Fortis considers this new information carefully before replying and, recognizing a lack of interest in what he has to teach, agrees. “That sound like a fine arrangement. Thank you. I’ve a few requests for you to write non-charged versions of scrolls when you or your compatriots have the time. I can guarantee you a sale for Purify Air, Walk Through Earth and a few others such as Suspend Spell, Suspend Magic, Displace Spell, Create Warrior, Test Food, Cook and Create Food. If you would like a deposit as a show of good faith I am perfectly happy to conduct our terms of sale that way as well. That should work out to about 17 days of writing, which is a bit on the high side of three weeks at five days per week.”
After concluding their business Fortis takes his leave. “Thank you so very much for your kind hospitality Alzel. If at any point in the future you find yourself in a position where I might be of assistance I do hope you will contact me. Please have a very pleasant evening”
With another slightly self mocking bow the Ellyl departs the tower and heads back to the manor. “I do believe I should be there in plenty of time for supper, perhaps I'll even be early enough to discuss my good news with the team prior to the meal.”
Cast of Characters:
+Arne Jamtgaard plays Seeker, a teenage Wolfen Warlord
+Ben Zittere plays Fortis, an Ellyl trickster and Mage
+Mike Biancone plays Arn, a surly Dwarven Warrior
+Amergin O'Kai plays Moonscar, the esoteric Kankoran Druid