Palladium PBeM Report 10 – Long Winter Shadows ~ Promises

Promises

The Second Story in the Tale of Marlin Tyrell, Wizard – known to himself as Marlin the Magnificent – begins here with this first installment of ‘Promises.’ The first story, ‘ A Single Step ‘ concluded with Marlin and Genrir booking passage on a vessel called the Winter Wind to speed the young wizard on his journey to the city of Wisdom from their present location in the port town of Luna Beach. While doing so, they encountered a wanted poster revealing that they had been harboring a dangerous fugitive among the refugees they had been protecting during their trek from the Kobold Lair in the mountains, and that the King is offering a huge bounty for his capture. The two decide to use the next few days to search for the man they know as Gallun, but the region fears as Alcome, the Summoner.

GM:

The dwarf looks at you for a moment, then nods. “Good,” he says… as if that explains everything…or anything.

Following the Old Salt to the berth of the Winter Wind to make firm arrangements with the First Mate takes very little time, and in less than half an hour, you and Genrir are once again left to your own devices.

Standing on the docks, much ofLunaBeachis blocked from sight by the stone walls which guard against the ravages of the sea, and the depredations of enemy fleets – should there ever be any. The town itself is constructed on a series of rock promontories, on both sides of the curvaceous and oft-branching river you followed down out of the mountains. While the streets you walked were cobblestone and dry, you have an inkling thatLunaBeachmight be an uncomfortable place to be in a heavy rain.

[Int check rolled] Your last distinct memory of Gallun is before you all entered Luna Beach, suggesting that he slipped away sometime between breakfast in the woods and the group’s passage through all the small farms and hovels on the outskirts of town.

“Alchemist first?” Genrir asks you, hanging on to the arm of the poster posting soldier, so that that worthy must wait before moving on to dispatch his duty. He is holding out his hand as if to receive something… like a copy of the poster.

Player the first:

Marlin nods to Genrir and says simply, “Lead on.” On the way, he starts to go back over everything he knew about Gallun. In mid-stride he stops and turns to Genrir. “Fried moles… I remember noticing him then as we got everyone across the river, eating fried moles. It never occurred to me to notice that he was not wet.” He grabs Genrir’s shoulder for emphasis. “He was never in the warren, or at least not as a prisoner.” Once the journey to the alchemist continues more and more pieces of the puzzle start to fall into place. “So focused were we on making it back alive, obvious things escaped my notice, or at least I noticed them but they didn’t register. We never did figure out how they were capturing the rivermen, or what happened to their vessels… I remember seeing no wreckage along the river, barring the ruined coracle from the escape.”

More thought on the matter brings up another idea. “You and your father clearly know more about these Kobolds and their leaders than you are telling me and that is fine, ’tis none of my business, really. But, I am beginning to suspect that this Summoner was in league with them. I know little of their abilities I admit, but such a one would have need of blood, energy, and space to work his foul tricks, and the lower mines of the warren, if not the arena itself might well have provided the space, and the rivermen the rest. ‘Tis a foul thought…” They continue walking and Marlin mumbles, “I remember noticing ’twas Gallun that knew best what to do with the deer that was caught, and what parts were worth what… more so than an average riverman had any right to… and he knew one end of a sword from the other… But why would he attach himself to us only to disappear when we arrived here? Obviously he knew he could not enter the town itself… And, with the arrival of the Dominion army boys, why loiter further and risk being discovered? Unless he was still recovering his strength… I know not if the powers of a ley line can help his kind, but I suspect not as he would have had access to it as I did for several days and would have recovered, if not as quickly as I, then surely as fully. It must have been to drain energy from the lot of you. He could not tap my resources for surely I would notice, but for the rest of the men, bedraggled and exhausted as they were, ‘twould be easy pickings. He might be quite a dangerous man to stumble upon in the midst of his craft.. Any thoughts my friend?”

GM:

The streets are no less crowded as you make your way through them toward the centre of town. From the little you saw, the centre of the city houses some kind of square, some temples, and would seem to be the meeting point between the houses of the merchants, and the hovels of the workers.

Genrir does not reply, but he does not seem distant, either. What is there to say, really? The wanted poster says it all – This man, this summoner, has done something so vile, a bounty of truly great proportions has been offered to destroy him with no trial or law.

Just as you think there will be nothing more to say, Genrir stops and looks at you thoughtfully for a moment.

“Kill him in his sleep.”

That said, he extends an arm and points across the small intersection you two have been approaching. The sign at which he points says in letters burnt into the faded wood, ‘Leather.’ The shop does not seem to be on a particularly busy section of the street, but the building is in good repair, and clean.

Player the first:

“I thought we were on the way to an alchemists?” is about all Marlin has to say. Although, he does concede that he probably needs a new suit of armour. Marlin shrugs, looks over the travel gear he has already from the Kobold lair, shrugs once more and continues in, content to spend some cash.

GM:

As you near the shop you can see that it has glass windows, spotlessly clean, and as flawless as you have ever seen. Each step reveals more and more of the well-lit interior. Oddly, it does not look like there are many things inside. It looks more like there are book shelves along the walls and one chest-high central display area with books arranged on top. There are two customers in the store, browsing through thin folios on this display.

The counter is at the rear of the store and a very tall individual is standing near the counter going over the fine points of a shirt with a third customer. As you enter the shop, it suddenly becomes apparent that the shopkeeper is an elf. He is well over 6 feet in height, and thin, with long, delicate hands and refined features. His lengthy, straight, dark hair is kept out of his narrow face by a leather circlet; and his eyes, which note your entry, but do not cease to focus on the customer at hand, are a startling blue.

Once inside, you see the folios contain small, precise images of items, with short descriptions. On lower shelves, there are common leather items which are often needed in daily life.

Excusing himself politely, the elf pauses, and says to you and Genrir in the Elven tongue, “I will be with you in one moment, gentlemen. Please look through the catalogues and check the samples while I attend to this customer.”

The man to whom he refers is a young noble, perhaps 20, finely dressed, wearing too much jewellery, and obviously uncomfortable in his unscratched, hard leather armour and swordbelt. Nothing seems to fit him. The elf is indicating this to him, and explaining how things should feel, fit, look, and be worn.

The other customers in the place seem more experienced with the world, and have catalogs open looking at things like rope, saddles, and heavy boots. They do not seem to be together. If you had to guess, you would place them as mercenaries or professional fighting men. They smell of oil, and saddle soap.

The interior of the shop is as spotless as its exterior, and is about 20 feet wide, and 30 feet from doorway to counter. It is impossible to tell how much further the private areas of the shop might extend beyond that.

At a cursory glance, it would seem that anything one could conceivably make from leather is obtainable here. That same cursory glance also shows that prices are more than you were told to expect when you left the monastery, but not as high as they were near the border towns in Timiro. The designs also seem to incorporate a distinct stylistic flair which is closer to the level of detail noblemen tend to obtain, but common folk can almost never afford.

“Good day to you, gentlemen. How can I be of service today?” The elf, now close, but not too close, enquires politely. “Are you looking to outfit yourselves for travel?”  His intelligent eyes seem to be taking you both in critically, as if to gauge your measurements.

Player the first:

Marlin will search through the folios for something that suits his needs: boots, leggings, armour, a hood, gloves, etc. and make a mental note of what he likes and doesn’t like. [I believe he has enough scroll cases and other such paraphernalia at the moment, but I may be wrong]. Also, while we are here, should a more worthy scabbard make an appearance, he will note that too.

When approached by the Elf, he turns and bows politely. “You have an exquisite shop sir. One rarely finds such a combination of form and functionality away from a nation’s capital. While the prices here might turn away those of impoverished means, I find myself drawn to items that are more of function than of form, for there is no need to advertise, is there?” He smiles and gestures to some of the open folios that he has (mentally) bookmarked. “Truth be told, I would most prefer a modest suit of armour and travel wear that is much sturdier than it appears.” Again with the smile at the Elf.

GM:

“I do agree that an appreciation of understatement is one of the hallmarks of good breeding,” the proprietor replies. “In fact, I have built my whole range of goods on that basic premise.”

He looks you up and down again. “How much sturdier, Sir?  Would this be something produced entirely by my staff and I, or would it require commissioning involvement from the local…” he drops his voice and leans in a bit so that only you can hear him, “alchemist?”

A second elf, with a similar cast to his features as the proprietor, but with a bored look, has stepped out from the back to take care of one of the other customers who is ready to pay. If there was a signal made by the proprietor to summon the clerk, you did not notice it. The clerk seems polite enough.

“If it’s the former, I can have it ready for you tomorrow.* The latter will take a number of days… or weeks, depending on what exactly you wished to commission. The same is true of the cost, the former will cost 300gp, and any additional gear you purchase from the shop will match the design, durability, and colouring of the armour, at no extra cost. I cannot provide you with a quote for the other option as that sort of project has costs which are dependent entirely on the requirements of the commission.”

*Here he is referring to reinforced studded leather armour, tailored to fit you

“Do you serve dwarves?” Genrir asks quietly, breaking out a complete interrogative sentence in what seems to your ears to be excellent Elvish.

Without missing a beat – so far as you can tell – the proprietor responds in another language, presumably Dwarven, for he is speaking to a dwarf. He bows politely, and seems to be making an apology.

Genrir’s face does not change, but the tension in his shoulders seems to subside, and he responds in the language you all share, “Companions, yes. Interested in the same items, no.”

“Would my eldest be able to assist you?” enquires the elf.

Genrir nods, and without further ado, moves toward the bored-looking elf who had been trying to slip back into the rear. With a resigned look of friendly service on his face, the elven clerk aborts his disappearing act, and steps around the counter to see to the doughty dwarven fighter’s needs.

“Please forgive my rudeness, sir” offers the elven proprietor. “I assumed that you were shopping together. I hope the delay I caused has not upset you in any way.”

Player the first:

Marlin watches the exchange quietly and takes a lesson is global politics. He also begins to wonder seriously about what Genrir is shopping for… However, he bows to the Elf and says, “Absolutely no offence taken, sir. My companion and I are of a different nature in many ways and tastes.” Marlin smiles and looks around the shop a bit. “I must admit sir, that while the second option is intriguing, I will be sailing in a few days and cannot therefore commission such a project. I mean no disrespect, but I did not factor production time into my thoughts before uttering them. My apologies.” He bows politely. “I think the former will suffice for now. The quality and design of your goods seems impeccable and I look forward to them.”

GM:

He seems pleased by your decision, and arranges to take measurements and get your input on minor design points with surprising efficiency.

Genrir takes but a moment longer, and as usual, his face reveals nothing except for the direction his eyes are looking.

You take your leave of the shop and continue on the few blocks to the Alchemist’s shop.

It is a long, low building of only one storey, but ringed on all sides by wide streets. It is almost as if the surrounding buildings, most of 2 or 3 stories, almost seem as if they are leaning back and away from it. While most of the buildings have thatched roofs, the Alchemist’s is stone, with crenellations ringing the rooftop and three, extremely wide and strong-looking chimneys clustered around the far end of the stone structure, one on the back wall, and one on each side, near the back corners.

There is a black sign over the studded, banded, metal door, with silver lettering outlined in red. In Elvish, it reads, Enchantments in large letters. Beneath that in tiny letters you need to be at the door to read, it states Potions, Powders, Scrolls, Spells, Armour, and Items. Beneath that in smaller, letters painted in an angry red, ‘No Weapons!’

You and Genrir are in front of the door. The streets around the shop are not deserted but by comparison with the ones you took to get here, are. The streets here are not cobbled, but flat slabs of slate, mortared together. Decent drainage has been provided and there are grated manholes at regular intervals. The sound of water below is audible in the stillness of this area.

A rain barrel sits next to the door, mostly full of water. There is a large dipper hooked over the lip of the barrel , a clean rag slung over the lip of the barrel, and a boot brush on a hook in the side of the barrel. In front of the door is a bristly woven matt. There are no windows.

A very large and obvious ward is on the door.

Player the first:

“Remind me why we are here again, friend” Marlin mutters and stretches his too-lean face into a sarcastic smirk. “And, not to put too fine a point on it, but grammatically, does ‘No weapons’ refer to what is not being made available here, or, rather is it a command to not bring any inside? While I do think it is the latter, one wonders where such weapons are to be kept whilst perusing the goods within. Surely we are not expected to just leave them lying about.” He then peers closely at the ward to see if he can identify it.

A waft of warm, strangely scented air drifts out as the dwarf enters, calling out in a tongue you do not know.

GM:

“Gallun…?” Genrir prompts, before stepping around you to open the door.

The ward contains permutations and combinations of symbols that you do not recognize…. except maybe one…. it might be the symbol for outward force… or it might not.

The expected darkness of the interior of the long, windowless stone building is abesent. Instead, the interior is warmly, and brightly lit, and under the scent of perfume or incense that first caught your nose, you are certain you smell a rich, beef stew.Over the shoulder of the dwarf you see a room, crammed so full of shelves and cabinets that you think the layout may be part library, part maze.

A voice, hale and hearty, calls from the back, “In or out, make up your mind!”

Player the first:

Well then… Marlin steps in quickly and shuts the door. He follows the Dwarf deeper inside this house of wonders and tries to look at everything at once, trying not to look like he is looking at everything at once. Despite himself he kinda feels like a kid in a candy shop.

GM:

It is hard to gauge the size of the interior but even if tiny, it is packed from floor to roof beams with things. Things both mundane and mystical. Mortars and pestles, powders and parchments, pens and sharpening knives, shields,wands, braziers, incense, footwear…  everywhere you look herbs and plants hang to dry, and other items of various description rest, lean, sit, dangle, and wait for a purchaser.

Genrir gives it all a miss and just sails on down the twisting aisle to the counter which a newcomer must presume is somewhere near the back. The floors and shelves are spotless, and show signs of a recent cleaning.

At the counter is another Elf, one who actually looks old… comparatively speaking. He is missing his right ear and his right eye, but radiates a strange cheer. He wears no patch over his dry, scarred socket, and has not shaved in a few days. His hair is wild and has wet-looking clumps, but he doesn’t look slovenly – just exhausted and busy. In front of him on the desk is a small pot, boiling with some foul-smelling liquid. Scattered about are a bewildering array of… stuff and remains of… stuff.

“How can I help you?” the alchemist asks brightly.

Player the first:

Marlin looks at the elder Elf and smiles politely. “If you don’t mind, I have a couple of items I would like to show you. First of all is this amulet. I can sense its potential but am ashamed to say, I cannot fathom its effects. Would you be able to glean them for me? Also, I have a cloak here that is damaged and is in need of repair.” Marlin will take out the amulet he found on the burned would-be assailant and unpacks his “Cloak of Non-Descriptiveness” and puts them on the counter. Once we have established a more “normal” business routine here, he will broach the subject of the summoner, if he can figure out a delicate way to do that…

GM:

“Such mysteries can be fathomed, for a price, Young Wizard,” the alchemist responds with a knowing smile. The amulet will be easy, for I already know what it is, just by looking. This…uh… cloak… divining the mysteries of what is left of it will be much harder.”

His face clouds with thought, and then he brightens again, “Give me two days, and return. If I have the answer, we will discuss the price. How much is it worth to you to know the mystical effect of the amulet, Young Wizard? How much for the knowledge, and how much for the secret of its activation?” He smiles in a friendly fashion.

Player the first:

I will leave the cloak with the Alchemist, and will offer to explain what it does, although I hardly know much myself. As for the amulet, “100 gold to tell me what mystical properties it has?” I ask in my nicest, most sincere voice and smile. “Since you already know that, it should make for a better day for you… an easy bit of gold for nothing.”

GM:

He smiles,”100, for that? You must be mad!  What may seem like no effort to you, young wizard, came at a high price in time, eyesight, blood, and no small amount of treachery.  When my age, you reach… you will understand.”

He rubs a clean, and well-kept, but oddly stained hand across his chin, furls his brow deeply, and looks into the middle distance for a moment… thinking… “Here is my offer,” he says slowly, “I will take this amulet off your hands for…an even 10,000 coins of the realm… or take it trade for 6 of my unrivaled healing draughts – in durable metal flasks, with 12 sticks of incense whose fumes are anathema to the spirits and undead so common to the ruins here, and 1 copy of my renowned Scroll of the Nemesis… the wizard’s route to personal satisfaction on the field of battle…  what do you say?”

As he talks, he warms to his offer, and indicates the items as he mentions them, waving his long-fingered left hand over a wire carrier holding six, stoppered metal flasks, lifting and smelling a bundle of incense sticks, and then with both hands, carefully lifting a scroll of heavy, rolled parchment, and displaying the label which presents the title, the name of the Alchemist’s shop, and the impressive contents… augmented strength, speed, and magical flame-based attack and defense…*

Genrir looks on impassively, holding the rolled wanted poster negligently in one hand.

*

  • Healing Potion, Superior
  • Fume, Repel Evil Spirits and Undead
  • Fire Fist + Superhuman Strength + Superhuman Speed

Player the first:

“That *is* an intriguing offer. But before I make such a momentous decision, how much will it cost me to learn what the amulet does? I mean no disrespect, and your offer certainly seems generous, but the not-knowing is what is eating at me.” Marlin smiles again and glances over the items offered in trade one more time. “I am certain we can come to an equitable agreement. And we have other business to attend to before we leave today, don’t we my Dwarven friend?” He looks over to Genrir and nods.

GM:

The elven alchemist looks at you closely over the scarred arch of his nose, and then nods his head…

“To share in my hard-won knowledge, it should be a matter of no consequence for you to help me recoup my disastrous losses of health, companions, cheerful optimism, and faith in the Gods’ plan for us all, by simply paying the clear value of the knowledge itself… say… 400gp…?”

He nods his head again, takes another look at the dwarf, and finishes with, “…but if you have other pressing matters perhaps we should make note of them before settling on a final price for my services… and discretion.”

Player the first:

“Indeed, well yes there are other pressing matters.” Marlin takes a deep breath.  “We are on a hunt for this man,” he indicates the poster in the Dwarf’s hand and gestures for him to unroll it. “And given his proclivities, I am confident he has been a patron of your shop, and likely not long ago. We are seeking information.”

GM:

“I see… aren’t you brave!” crows the elf with raised eyebrows and an appraising glance at you and your companion. “If you are looking for HIM, then I guess I will have to ask for all money up front – no credit.”

“What would you like to know, and how much of that royal reward would you be willing to share with an old, tired alchemist?” he asks with a more or less straight face.

Player the first:

“Well, that depends on how much information you are willing to share, and how helpful it is.” Marlin will glance at Genrir to make sure the taciturn Dwarf does not object before continuing. “I have no problem sharing the reward, as long as it is worth it. You seem to know him rather well, so what can you tell us about him? When was he last here?”

GM:

The Elf’s eyebrows climb even higher, “Ah… you don’t know much about him?  That is a surprise. I would have thought most residents of Penington lands would know his crimes….”

“Where to begin….? I guess most of his crimes are not really all that unique or upsetting from a universal standpoint… murder, summoning and binding dark forces… that sort of thing…the things one expects summoners to do. Hmmm… no… it was interrupting the transits of the King’s fleet, kidnapping the princess, holding her for ransom, and then when rebuked for his temerity, sinking the princess’s vessel, slaying her crew, raining their bloated and drowned corpses on the streets of our fair town here, and then sending her to the King in 12 containers that really caused a stir. Alcome is not without a touch of flair. He has a penchant for dealing with aquatic demons.”

He scratches his chin. “All that was over a year ago… maybe two. I hadn’t seen hide nor hair of him until…I mean since then… well, until those posters went up and the alarm was raised today, that is.”

Player the first:

Marlin pauses for a moment to take that all in. “Ahh… I am not from these lands and am only newly arrived.” He smiles and then thinks a bit more. “Aquatic demons… that certainly is interesting. And it would explain a thinkg or two I suppose. However, what raised the alarm today of all days?”

 GM:

“I have no idea. I would assume it would be because someone saw and recognized him. The watch has been by twice to make sure he’s not hiding behind my counter…  like I would sell to someone with his track record for not getting paid. Ridiculous.”

He looks you right in the eye for effect, “Mark my words, young wizard, if Alcome is in Luna Beach then disappointment will come next, with corpses soon to follow… and maybe some body-part precipitation!  That said, though, I think he would have to be crazy to come here… with all the wizards and warlocks in the King’s employ among the Naval Guard and the City Coastal Watch, a rogue summoner would have to have a serious grudge and lots of demonic servitors to back it up, a death wish, or a fool-proof escape plan to get out of Luna Beach alive.”

“Why are you so interested in this particular case…? There are lots of wanted posters.”

Player the first:

“Let us just say that I do not like being made to look a fool. I am quite capable of doing so on my own.” Marlin glances at the Dwarf to see if he has anything to add, not that it seems likely. “My good sir, has he stopped by recently and if so, what had he purchased, with cash I assume since you won’t take credit from him?” Marlin smiles. “I ask only because I would like to have some foreknowledge of what sort of things he may be preparing to conjure up. While I am sure he has been a loyal, if somewhat recalcitrant customer of yours, any disappointment he plans to bring to Luna Beach is bound to reflect badly on you in the long run, being an Alchemist and all, despite of course your wisdom, age, and neutrality. It would be in both of our interests to be well rid of him, and as I said, I would be willing to share the reward if you can give me information that will help lead to his demise. Then we can discuss the amulet and my cloak.” Marlin looks the Elf in the eye right back. “Any share of the reward will be promptly paid upon my return. Should I fall in the pursuit of this venture then the information you have given will go to the grave with me and you will have lost nothing. The more help you can give the more you can receive in the long run. It seems a clear bargain for us both, with my companion and I assuming all the risk. What say you?”

GM: 

“I like you, Young Wizard. I will tell you something I did not tell the others – even the King’s men. Alcome was here, he bought a few simple items… quills, inks, melting pots, and crucibles… you know: tools of the trade. He then obtained some of my famous glue… which everyone should, really – it has a million uses. Would you like some?”

He proffers a small travel pot of a thick, white paste with a smile, but continues to speak, “It was obvious he was in a hurry, and not comfortable being out in the crowded streets of Luna Beach. He overpaid for everything. He bought a hooded cloak which was not for sale, just something I keep here in case it rains. For each item he gave me a gem stone –  uncut stones, but useful nonetheless. He had a bag of stones and gems of every description. Finally, he decided to do all of his shopping in one place – which is not his way, to be sure – and asked me for iron filings and a silver knife.”

He leans forward conspiratorially, “I don’t know if you can make anything out of that, Young Wizard, but here is the information that is yours, and yours alone – it really isn’t so much what he bought that is of interest, it is what he already had… stones of many types, 2 goats, and a hawk.”

He leans back. “Now, take your amulet, and I do suggest you wear it, and leave this horrible scrap of cloth with me to examine and mend. If you die, I will sell it for a huge mark-up and think kindly of you, briefly. If you get the reward for Alcome, and do not return here to pay me my share within a day of doing so, I will have you slain.”

He smiles, and settles more comfortably on whatever it is he has been sitting upon behind the counter.

Player the first:

Marlin ponders that for a moment and then nods to himself. “Right then, so it shall be. I thank you for your information about Alcome. I am (thankfully) not well versed in the ways of summoning and shall look into that. Do you have an idea what those components would be used to summon? Nothing good, to be sure but… Oh, and you don’t, by any chance, happen to know anyone by the name of Gallun, do you?” He pauses for a moment more and then continues, “As for the amulet, I thank you again for the recommendation, but what will it take for you to tell me what it does and… how to make it do that? I will gladly pay you now for such knowledge. Upon my return, when I collect my cloak, we can once more negotiate its sale or trade, if you like.” He gives the alchemist his best smile, but given his somewhat pallid complexion it does little to brighten his gaunt face.

 GM:

“You do ask such a lot of questions!” the alchemist responds with a smile.

“I know a few people named Gallun, but I am unsure why it is that you would ask – is this related to your quest to find Alcome?  One thing is certain, if even half the stories of Alcome are true, and if this Gallun is an associate of Alcome’s, his mind will likely not be his own. Alcome has learned more than one secret of controlling the will of others.”

“As for the amulet…identification of its effects is no farther than the simple act of passing coins from your hand to mine. Pay, and all shall be revealed.”

Player the first:

Marlin ponders that a moment, noting that obviously a summoner would have great skill at dominating and manipulating others, which is to be avoided at all costs in an encounter with him. “Gallun was a name I am confident Alcome has gone by recently, that is all. As for the amulet and the trading of gold coins for knowledge of its abilities, fine. How much?”

GM: 

“In the last few moments, no matter how engaging your charming conversational skill has made them, Young Wizard, the price, so far as I am aware, has not decreased from the stated 400 gold. I think you will find the knowledge worth the price.”

The elf smiles at Genrir, who looks impassively back.

Genrir’s posture and expression do not betray whatever he might be thinking, but there seems to be no sign of the outbursts of frustration which can make him speak.

Player the first:

“Ah, right, as you said. Well then, time is a-wasting and we have a summoner to bring down, and much to do to make that happen.” Marlin will fish around in his pouch for one of the letters of credit he is carrying and put it on the counter. “400 gold you say?” and smiles at the Elf. Then with a small sigh he fills out the appropriate information to complete this transaction.

GM: 

Reading your name upside down as you complete the details on the letter of credit, the proprietor asks in surprise, “Marlin… Tyrell?  Your family name is Tyrell?”

Player the first:

Marlin will stop writing, letting the nib of the pen float a millimetre above the parchment, as he looks up at the Elf. “Yes…..” he draws out the answer. “Does that mean something to you?”

GM:

“Not if you don’t want it to… a good alchemist learns to be discrete… but… with your attitude, I assumed that you were hunting Alcome, not seeking to join him.”

Player the first:

Marlin scowls for a moment, eyes sinking deeper into the caverns of his face, takes a breath and lets it out, and puts his happy face back on. “I believe you have me confused with my father. Although I hardly knew the man, I do know a few things about him, and if the accounts be true, that would put truth to your suspicion. It would seem he was the sort to cavort with summoners.” He glances at Genrir to see if there is anything amiss on his unreadable face, and then turns back to the alchemist. “What do you know of the man?”

GM:

The look of confusion on the Alchemist’s face, despite his merchant’s skill for dissembling, cannot be missed. His blankly questing face resolves into bewildered curiosity and he answers your question with, “You do not know the name of the man you seek…  Alcome Tyrell?”

Player the first:

Marlin does his best imitation of a marble statue, pallor and all. He does it for a long while. Then he speaks, slowly. “I did not know his name was Tyrell. I do not see any familial resemblance either. Quite possibly he is a distant cousin or there is no relation at all, though I do not put much stock in such broad coincidences. The only members of my family that I ever knew are all dead. And as much as I would like to say, ‘this changes nothing’ I am certain that would be a lie.” He looks back down at the letter of credit and finishes filling it out. “There, that much at least is done.”

Marlin will glance at Genrir again though, and half-under-his-breath say, “Well so much for that plan of sneaking up on whilst he is asleep and slitting his throat, getting the money and living happily ever after.”

GM: 

Genrir looks at you for a moment, then simply says, “My father likes to repeat a proverb – A man is not responsible for being the fruit of a tree, only how far he rolls from it to grow into his own.”

He looks about himself once, then asks, “Done?”

Player the first:

“Yes, my friend. Good words indeed. We are nearly done here.” Marlin turns back to the Elf. “That is, when my new friend here tells me about this amulet and anything else these new revelations about my family may have sparked in his deeply knowledgeable mind.” He smiles again and does his best not to look too flabbergasted. “And it hardly goes without saying that any coincidental relationship my name has with Alcome need not be bandied about… For a fee, if required of course.”

GM:

The elf seems to be hiding the gasting of his flabber as well, but covers it with a cough, a dash of scented, sparkling powder tossed over his own head, and the pedantic process of filling in a customer on the secrets they have purchased.

“Your amulet, sir, I can tell, was not made for you. It is very old, and its purpose is to protect the wearer from curses…but not in the normal way you might expect. Usually, people think of protection amulets preventing things, but this was designed to lessen or slow the effects of a pre-existing curse… increasing the wearer’s resistance to that curse. While most curses have some form of remedy – not all of them are easily accessible or affordable, making this amulet a much-needed boon for the afflicted. They are often the only respite for those poor souls who have run afoul of a Priest of Darkness, or upset a witch, or been inflicted with lycanthropy, or similar fates.”

He makes a show of looking you up and down before he asks, “Have you been cursed, Young Wizard?”

Player the first:

Marlin cocks his head sideways a bit and then says, “Not to my knowledge. I have no experience with Priest of Darkness, witches, or lycanthropes. Although it would be best to know for certain before entertaining the notion of giving up this amulet. Is there a quick and easy way to find this out? I suspect I might have to find a clergyman but…” He shrugs.

GM: 

“Yes, most men do know when they have been cursed to their faces, and as for lycanthropy… well, unless you have mysteriously woken up naked in the woods covered in blood,  you can usually rule that one out….  so, it’s up for trade, then?”

Player the first:

“Ahh… well then, I see. Perhaps it is best I hang on to this for a bit then, hmm?” He glances at Genrir, “And then I believe that about concludes all of our business? Thank you again for your help. I shall return for the cloak in a few days time.” He makes a sketchy bow and turns to go.

GM:

As you go to leave, the elf shoots a look at the dwarf, and says in a more serious tone, “The old sayings are true in many respects… the mark, if that curse is indeed one that you carry, shall be shown on the map of the hand as its hour draws near.”  He pauses, then his face returns to the bland smile of a merchant.  He bids you both good day, and watches you depart.

This concludes this scroll of the Tale, but worry not, more of the adventure remains to be told~

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