Campaign Logs

Company of the Silver Claw

By Brian Flood

Chapter 4 - Canvassing the Keep

Kendall Keep, Kingdom of Cormyr

Mid-Afternoon, 15th Day of Mirtul; Year of the Tankard (1370 DR)

{Alain, Baulin, Malk, Salik}

After the two separate information-gathering parties depart the tavern, the remaining adventurers – Alain, Baulin, Malk and Salik – exchange glances and discuss what their small group will do next.

Baulin looks at the other remaining members. “Well, what do we do first? I think we should find out more about this Third person.”

While the others are trying to decide what to do, Baulin gets up, takes his drink and walks over to Third. He motions ‘Can I join you?’

Baulin’s departure leaves only Alain, Malk, and Salik at the table. A moment later, Alain stirs, shaking off the lethargy that has been griping him. Picking up his cup he moves to join Baulin.

Malk and Salik watch from their table as Alain and Baulin approach ‘Third’ and attempt to communicate with the exotic warrior woman. As they observe the bizaare interaction, Baulin produces a piece of paper and a shard of charcoal. The dwarf then appears to scribe something onto the paper and show it to 'Third'. After the woman indicates that she does not understand, Baulin writes something else on the paper and shows it to the woman again.

The pair’s surveillance is interrupted by the appearance of Jess, the serving girl. “Can I get you gentlemen another round?” she asks.

Salik smiles at Jess warmly. “Yes please, another ale would suit me fine, and one for my friend Malk here.” He beckons Jess closer. “Tell me, have you heard about any disturbances around the town? We are travelers and have heard some talk about attacks being made on such merchants as ourselves and obviously want to know as much as possible in order to prepare ourselves.”

As Salik finishes his question to Jess, Malk abruptly stands and moves over to where Baulin and Alain sit with ‘Third’.

Jess moves to say something to Malk but changes her mind and turns back to Salik. “Merchants you say? I am SO excited to hear your tales of the places you’ve been! What are you here to purchase – or have you come to sell? Well, whatever you came here for, I can tell you that if you plan to out into the wild or even just down the road a spell, look out for bandits! They’re terrible in these parts! Most folks, they say that they just rob ya and let you go, but I’ve heard that every once in a while somebody just disappears! The goblins got ‘em, most folks say, but I’m not so sure. I’ve never heard of a goblin doing what Cob said was done to those poor folks yesterday. Stuck right through to a tree – yech! Watch yourselves out there, I hope you come back safe to share your tales with us!”

The serving girl glances in the direction that Malk departed. “Um, now that your friend is gone, I guess you just want one ale?”

* * * * *

{Alain, Baulin, Malk}

“Hello, darling I’m Baulin,” says the dwarf. “May I join you?”

As he awaits her response, Baulin’s trained warrior eyes take note of the peculiar suit of armor that ‘Third’ wears. It appears to be fashioned from the hide of some sort of reptile. Layers of small scales blanket the thick, leathery jerkin.

The dark-skinned woman glances up at the inquiring dwarf and frowns in apparent confusion. She shakes her head and grunts, pointing in turn to her ear and her mouth.

As ‘Third’ finishes her wordless gestures, Alain appears at the table, as well. Performing a half bow from the waist, he addresses the mysterious woman. “Greetings, I am Alain Mornswith, if it wouldn't be an imposition may I join you also?” Alain looks over to Baulin and smiles.

‘Third’ again gestures empathically to her mouth as she shakes her head.

Baulin looks at Third, “So you can't speak or hear? Can you read and write?”

The dwarf gets a piece of paper and writes his name and Alain’s name and points to the name and then to the person. He then passes the paper and pencil to ‘Third’ for her to write her name.

‘Third’ frowns at Baulin’s words and her frown grows deeper as the paper is pushed toward her. When Baulin gestures from the written names to the respective persons, her eyes brighten slightly. Taking the pencil, she scribes three vertical slashes and then points to herself. “Third!” she states forcefully in a voice thick with an odd accent.

Baulin writes that it is nice to meet her. He asks if they could join her. The dwarven warrior then motions for three more drinks, one for him, one for ‘Third’ and one for Alain.

The exotic woman wrinkles her face in apparent confusion at the latest two sentences Baulin has just written on the paper. She circles them with the pencil and then gives Baulin a perplexed look as she shrugs and shakes her head.

Baulin writes, ‘Mind if we sit with you?’ Then the dwarf looks at her armor and writes, ‘I like your armor. What kind is it? I have never seen anything like it.’

Once again, ‘Third’ uses the pencil to circle Baulin’s writings. She shakes her head violently and holds up her hands in confusion.

Baulin points to the word ‘armor’ and then points to his suit of chainmail. He then points from the word to ‘Third’’s own unique hide armor.

The dark-skinned warrior nods slowly in understanding. Her head cocks slightly to the side as if she is trying to discern where this charade-like sequence is going.

Baulin looks for the drinks. As he does, he notices Jess leaving Malk and Salik and making her way to the trio’s table. The young serving girl sets three tankards of ale on the table and turns to address Baulin. “That’ll be nine copper thumbs for the ale,” she says.

Baulin writes the word ale on the paper. He gives a drink to ‘Third’. He points to the word ‘ale’, voices the word slowly, and then points to the drinks. He smiles at ‘Third’.

‘Third’ returns the grin and takes the drink. “Ale!” she exclaims in her heavily accented voice.

“Uh, sir?” Jess says, interrupting the touching occasion. “The coppers please?”

Baulin turns back to Jess. “Sorry, to make you wait. Here is a silver.” Jess pockets the coin and makes her exit from the table.

The dwarven warrior turns back to ‘Third’ and smiles at her saying ‘ale’. He nods and then draws a picture of a house and says, “home”. He points to her and then the house.

‘Third’ picks up the pencil and makes to draw a retort, when Malk suddenly arrives at the tableside.

“I too am honored to meet you, ‘Third’,” announces Malk as he joins the small group at the table with the exotic warrior woman. “My name is Malk. Tell me are there more like yourself?”

In response, ‘Third’ merely stares open-mouthed at the new arrival. She drops the pencil she was holding and turns to Baulin. She gives the dwarf a perplexed look as she points to Malk.

Baulin looks at Malk. “Malk, I don't think she completely understands us.” The dwarf looks back to ‘Third’ and points to Malk, then to himself, and then he interlocks his own wrists and shakes them up and down like to two friends shaking hands.

‘Third’, mimicking Baulin, interlocks her wrists and shakes them, while looking at Malk.

“Malk,” Baulin states, “we don't want to crowd her too much. Perhaps you might want to go talk to those three over there.” Baulin points the table of three citizens.

Baulin looks back at ‘Third’, and says, “friend” while pointing to Malk. He then points to himself and says “Baulin.”

‘Third’ nods eagerly, indicating her understanding. “Baulin!” she states pointing to Baulin. “Third,” she says, pointing to herself. “Friend!” she exclaims proudly, pointing to Malk.

Baulin points to the armor and says, “Armor”; he then points to the word he wrote earlier. Next, he points to Alain and says, “Alain.”

Again, ‘Third’ nods excitedly. She points in turn to her armor and then Alain, reiterating the words ‘armor’ and ‘Alain’ while indicating the proper item and person, respectively.

Alain tilts his head to the side, watching the myriad of exchanges happening in front of him. “Baulin my friend, I thank you for the ale,” he says.

Baulin tells Alain, “Think nothing of it.”

The dwarf then writes ‘Thunder Peaks’ on the paper and retrieves the picture of the house. “Baulin home,” he says, pointing to the picture of the house. “Thunder Peaks,” he continues, pointing to the words ‘Thunder Peaks.’

Baulin looks at 'Third' and says, “Third home ...,” and shrugs his shoulders while turning his hands up, meaning ‘where?’.

‘Third’ grabs the pencil and draws an ‘X’ at the top of a clean piece of paper. She points to the ‘X’ saying, “Third, Baulin, Alain, Friend.”

Next, she draws a small house, similar to Baulin’s, at the bottom of the page. “Third home!” the warrior woman states with proud conviction.

* * * * *

{Amiel, Declan}

Amiel and Declan exit the One-Eyed Cat and proceed counterclockwise around the outer bailey, working their way toward the gatehouse. When they finally arrive at the twin gatehouse towers, they see that the double doors leading to the sally port are closed and barred. Each of the towers has a door set into its face at ground level – both are closed, as well.

Amiel walks up to one of the closed doors set at ground level and bangs on it. “Hello the tower! We seek Sabine...anybody in there?” she yells.

Declan stands behind his companion, almost fidgeting nervously. He takes a hold of his bag and clutches it tightly.

After a few moments, the sound of a sliding bar precedes the opening of the tower door. In the doorway stands Sabine, the gatekeeper. As always, she wears her sword, armor, and tabard. She narrows her eyes as she visually inspects the pair’s visible weapons for peace bonds. Apparently satisfied, she locks her eyes on Amiel and says, “Can I be of service, Lady?”

Declan watches his companion then steps forward, “Forgive us for intrudin’ Gatekeeper, right, we know that yer ‘ave pressin’ business. But if we could trouble yer, right, do yer ‘ave a few minutes, then, eh, mate? We need ter ask yer about the bloody travelers that were ambushed on the road. We are ‘ave a lookin’ for names and features so if we encounter them again wile explorin’ the countryside we will recognize them.”

Sabine’s eyebrows rise as she replies, “Well then, you plan to do a little exploring, do you? Can’t say I can be much help with describing the latest victims. Didn’t see them, you see. Cob arrived yesterday huffin’ and puffin’ and mumbling about finding some slain travelers, but he didn’t go into detail about their descriptions. Without that, I can’t say for sure whether I even knew them or not.”

“Are you planning to go out there and recover the bodies?” asks the gatekeeper.

“Amiel at your service again, m’lady,” Amiel says politely. “We’ve heard of the slayings and some of our party feel strongly about returning the favor,” she says as her expression becomes fierce. “As well as recovering the bodies and helping the families of the victims....if they’re from around here. I was wondering, is there anyone who leaves and returns to the Keep frequently?”

Amiel lowers her voice, “What about anyone who has fallen upon hard times and has left the Keep...seemingly for good? Or someone that's always been a trouble maker and similarly has left in disfavor?”

Sabine pauses to consider Amiel’s questions. “There are several who come and go regularly.” She uses her fingers as she begins naming individuals. “There’s Cob – he’s a hunter; Ol’ Tarlach, the fisherman; Chandry, she takes her cows down to the pastures below the keep; Mendel, he’s a Sembian merchant; Amos, he’s a trapper; Mirna, she’s another merchant; Loril, she’s another furrier; Findol, he’s an ale merchant from Arabel. And those are just the ones I remember off the top of my head. Torm’s grace, girl – this Keep stands along a major trade route! I can’t count the number of merchants, trappers, furriers, and the like that stop in on their way through.”

“As for outcasts and the like, the only one that strikes me right away is young Arpad. She’s Asham the Cooper’s oldest daughter. She ran away from home a few months back. Not sure why; Asham doesn’t talk much about it, and it just ain’t polite to go asking those kind of personal questions.”

Amiel grins in response. “That's fine m’lady. I was only enquiring as to those that frequently left and returned to the Keep rather than all traffic! Let’s see...Cob, Tarlach, Chandry, Amos, Loril are all residents of the Keep? By the way what do you think of Cob? We've just hired him as guide....are we going to regret that?” Amiel asks half-laughingly.

Sabine returns Amiel’s grin. “Of course you were, sorry for the information overload. As for which are residents, Tarlach and Chandry live here in the Keep. Cob, Amos, and Loril, they pretty much live with what’s on their back. They travel seasonally, so they never really settle in one place for long.”

The gatekeeper takes a moment to clear her throat before continuing. “As for Cob, he’s trustworthy enough, I think. Just make sure you keep him away from liquor while he’s doing his guiding!”

After Sabine’s answer, Amiel asks, “And where do Mendel, Mirna and Findol stay when they are in town? I presume that they are from out of town?”

“Most of the merchants stay in the apartments over at the Guild House,” Sabine retorts. “I guess they figure that those lodgings are a bit more suited to merchants than are the ‘common’ lodgings at the Green Man.”

“Hmmm,” Amiel considers something for a moment. “That is sad news for Master Asham. Did she run away by herself?” Amiel's fine eyebrows rise as she gives Sabine a knowing look, “Any good-looking men involved?”

Sabine ponders this question for a moment or so before responding. “No, not that I heard of. At least, no men that live here in the Keep.”

Declan looks between the two women, seeing if they are finished. Then he speaks up, “Sabine, right, may I ask a few odd questions, then, eh? Wot sort of fantastic beasts lair about these woods, then, eh, mate? Any dragons, by chance?”

“Dragons!?!?” exclaims Sabine. Then she continues with a soft chuckle. “No, no, sir. I have not heard tales of any dragons that live in these woods. Perhaps in the Thunder Peaks to the east, but none here in the Hullack Forest.”

Declan has a saddened expression on his face of all things. “Ah. Well. Well, any other draconic like beasties? You see, I promised me mum I would find one to tell her abut. And if no dragons, what other strange beasties live hereaboots, legendary or real?”

“Far as I know,” the gatekeeper replies, “most of the humanoid tribes near ‘bouts here were destroyed back in Lord Macsen’s day. We’ve had a few minor raids by orcs ‘n gnolls ‘n the like but nothing to write tales about. The only other strange being I know of ‘round these parts is a mad hermit that supposedly lives off in the woods somewheres. I heard the danged fool doesn’t even eat meat. Now THAT is what I call strange!” Sabine exclaims.

Declan nods, “Ah well. I guess it was too much to hope for.” He sighs then shakes his head, “Thank ye for ye time, missus.” He smiles at the guard captain.

Then he turns to Ameil. “Shall we, good lady? What is our next errand for the morrow?”

Recalling their instructions from Tiron, the pair of adventurers makes their way from the outer gatehouse to the smithy. They have no problem finding the building, as they merely follow sounds of metal-on-metal strikes that they heard on their way to their first stop.

Approaching the smithy, Amiel and Declan see that the building is constructed for defense. It stands some thirty feet high – equal in height to the outer walls of the Keep – and has a crenellated roof that is ringed with battlements. A set of sturdy double doors lies open, allowing a view inside the workshop. Inside, the walls are lit with an eerie, hellish glow by the central forge. A large man, his arms bulging with corded muscles, is the only visible occupant. He stands over the huge iron anvil near the forge. In his left hand is a long set of tongs that hold a heated horseshoe in their grasp; his right hand holds an iron hammer that he is currently using to pound upon the horseshoe. As the pair watches, he stops his pounding and dips the tongs into a nearby trough of water. Immediately, a cloud of steam rises from the barrel, accompanied by a harsh hiss.

* * * * *

{Tiron, Velgardrin, Cob}

Tiron and Velgardrin, with Cob in tow, depart the tavern and make their winding way through the outer bailey buildings to the chapel. From the outside, the chapel appears to be a single stone building that stretches sixty to seventy feet along its long axis. The peaked slate roof stands a full forty feet above the ground. The sturdy double doors that mark the main – western – entrance to the chapel are open. Faint sounds of a heavy wooden object sliding across an uneven surface can be heard from within the stone building.

Tirondalin listens intently to the strange sounds emanating from within the Chapel as the group pause outside the large building. “It sounds as if we're about to interrupt renovations,” he states plainly. “Velgardrin, before we go in, what be your advice? Do you believe the party needs healers? And of perhaps greater concern, do we tell the priests our entire story, or would it be wise to keep them in the dark?”

“Cob, what do you think, my friend? You ‘ave experienced the ravages of these bandits first hand?” He asks of his companions while unslinging and leaning steadily upon his sturdy bow.

Cob shrugs indifferently. “Those ‘uns were needin’ raisin’ not healin’,” he replies. “As fer lyin’ ta Chaplain Abercrombie, I ain’t sure I’d give that advice. Ya see, he’s pretty strict about talkin’ and actin’ right.”

Velgardrin thinks a bit before replying. “Mehaps Cob be right but we dasen’t have ter tell em what he don’t ask. The lovely soldier lady didn’t tell us iffin we could trust any here but maybe this be the one we do.”

Velgardrin pauses again then squints his eyes a bit as if straining to say exactly the right thing. “Iffin we tells em that we’re adventurers lookin’ into the caves that seems like a safe plan ta me. Then we can easily ask about more healin’ help but I dasen’t think we needs to hire any yet.”

Turning to Cob with a big grin, he adds, “Is any o these priests wimmen who’d maybe smile at me?”

“Hmmm. I reckon Opal – she’s a priestess of Selune – is ‘bout the only woman cleric we got ‘round here. She just ‘ad her service last night, so she most likely ain’t ‘ere right now,” replies the hunter.

Velgardrin almost drools at Cob’s reply. “Selune eh. Aye she’d be a fair one to look upon.”

Cob shrugs again. “Maybe so. She’s lived ‘ere all ‘er life, so she’s not somethin’ new to me.”

“Aye, Velgardrin, I agree,” says Tirondalin, interrupting Velgardrin’s fantasy. “However, the caves and our bandit problem may be two different issues. Perhaps, if Cob is right,” Tirondalin begins with a look in the hunter's direction, “this Abercrombie is one we could trust. It would be useful to have at least one ally in our efforts here. Yet, we waste the sun’s precious light standing out here,” he states with finality, picking up his bow and walking toward the door of the chapel. “Let’s take a look at this Abercrombie anyway, one can tell a lot from the look of a man,” he pauses, “or so my grandfather used to say.”

Tiron enters the chapel, the other two adventurers close on his heels. Inside, they find the chapel to be quite different than the outside appearance may have implied. A portion of the light that scintillates about the great worship area is provided by the lancet windows along the south wall. The remainder, however, emanates from the stained glass window set high into the upper east wall. A design of an upright right-hand metal gauntlet, palm open and facing the interior of the chapel, dominates the massive window that measures twenty feet tall by eight feet wide.

Beneath the grand window, at the far eastern end of the room, is a simple altar of stone. Several bare pews and a poor box by the sturdy double doors complete the nave’s furnishings. Also just inside the double doors is a set of stairs leading down.

The grating sound of wood-on-stone once again draws the adventurers’ focus to the chapel’s worship area. They quickly discern the source of the noise to be a man, dressed in dark crimson robes, who is engaged in sliding one of the wooden pews slightly aside. He then retrieves a nearby broom and proceeds to sweep the stone floor where the pew was set.

Suddenly noticing the small group of visitors, the man stops his sweeping and stands erect, holding the broom. “Good afternoon, visitors!” he hails. “And a good day to you as well, Cob! I must tell you that our chapel services are complete for the day but we will hold service again in the morning. Is there some other way I can help you?”

Absentmindedly, Tirondalin raises his hand in greeting, still grasping his bow. “Hail, brother!” He quickly threads the bow over his shoulder, “Excuse me,” he states with an embarrassed smile. But quickly gathering his composure, he continues, “I am Tirondalin, and this here,” with a sweeping gesture toward the dwarf at his side, in a sincere tone, “is Velgardrin. To whom do we speak with?”

“I am Chaplain Abercrombie,” replies the man in crimson robes. “I am a humble servant of Torm and caretaker of this chapel.” The trio of visitors note that the cleric appears quite fit and trim. His firm voice hints at a layer of fiery determination that lies beneath his otherwise calm demeanor.

“It is a pleasure to meet you, Chaplain. Velgardrin and I are adventurers, that is apparently the term,” he begins with a wry grin, “and were wondering what services in the way of healing you provided at this most peaceful, lovely house of worship?” The half-elf looks to the stained glass rising before him, obviously impressed.

The cleric regards the small group for a few long moments, as he considers his response. “As you are most likely not followers of Torm the True, I would say that I could call upon his divine mercy to heal you in return for a donation to our chapel. I believe ten gold lions per person should suffice. But,” he adds studying the trio before him, “I must say that you do not appear to be in need of such powers.”

Grasping the holy symbol he wears and holding it out, Velgardrin bows slightly and then speaks in his normal gruff-sounding voice. “I be servin’ the Father of Battles, Clanggedin Silverbeard hisself, as priest also. We be not in need o’ such healin, but it ne’er hurts ta be plannin’ ahead if we be seekin’ lost treasures that fell creatures don’t want to surrender.”

Abercrombie’s eyes immediately lighten. “Ah! I was unaware I was in the presence of a fellow priest. Clanggedin, you say? I have heard some tales of the Powers of other races, but I must admit I am not fully schooled in the like. As one of Torm’s holy champions, I would be honored, kind sir, to engage you in discussion concerning our respective faiths!”

The priest pauses before continuing. “However, I must admit I am a slight bit confused. I thought your friend here,” with a nod toward Tiron, “asked what healing services I could provide. And now you say you are not in need of such administrations, after all. Yet you claimed to be adventurers and now you have mentioned ‘lost treasures.’ Are you here on a holy quest of some sort?”

With a slight expression of confusion that suddenly blooms into a grin, Velgardrin smacks himself solidly in the forehead with his right hand. “Ach no. No special quest like that. It’s just that if gold be in the hands o’ orcs it be lost trasure as fer as I be concerned.” He pats his axe and continues. “And I be always ready to ‘find’ such lost treasure. Maybe we can also talk about those we follow, for Torm and Clangeddin Silverbeard be allies so we must be so also. Now be not the time though, eh Tiron?”

The handsome half-elf nods his head slightly. “Alas sir,” he says to Abercrombie, “we do not possess the time for such an exchange, and that is unfortunate, for I am a man of the faith also,” he states matter of factly, although Velgardrin notes that instead of gesturing toward his holy symbol, his fingers go to his only ring.

“Perhaps we could meet later on, Father, but for now, we are only getting our feel for the keep and it’s inhabitants.” Tirondalin regards the priest under a careful gaze for a short moment, before continuing in a measured tone, “But we are also here for the purpose of gathering information in regards to our mission. Are you often in contact with Jadale, the lieutenant of the keep's militia? You would perhaps know about a group of savage bandits...” and he stops there, awaiting the priest’s reaction.

“A mission, you say?” responds the priest, obviously interested. “The castellan has confided his fears concerning the bandits with both Jadale and myself. They would appear to be a vicious bunch. At times they have robbed travelers and let them be on their way; and, at other times, only the bodies of the victims have remained as witness to a bandit attack. Still more disconcerting are the tales of those who have simply disappeared. If you are here to defeat these brigands, then I would say you are indeed on a quest – even if you do not recognize it as such at the present. Perhaps even Torm himself has a hand in this matter – for it is he who watches over those who place themselves at risk for the greater good.”

“I wish you success on your mission then,” Abercrombie states in a stern and righteous tone. He raises his right hand, palm facing the trio, in the same fashion as the symbol in the stained glass. “And may the Loyal Fury aid you when the time comes to bring these criminals to final, swift justice,” he intones.

“I am sincerely appreciative of your blessing Father,” Tirondalin remarks with a bow. “Our main purpose in coming to visit was in gathering any information that you would deem helpful to us in,” he finishes with emphasis and a broad smile at the final word, as if uplifted by the thought that he, of all people, would be capable of any such heroics. Another thought quickly occurs to him and he shares it with some reserve and a slight grin, “I do hope we are not interrupting your sweeping, Father?”

Velgardrin says, “Wait Tiron. Methinks that we be not done here.”

Turning to Father Abercrombie, he continues, “Though we be seekin’ the answer ta tha bandits we still be after recoverin’ any lost treasure ta fill our pouches. Now a puzzle fer ya. There seems ta be incidents of just robbin’ and then those with senseless killin’s. Ta me it seems like mebbe more than one group is out ther. What think ye?”

The priest nods in agreement with Velgardrin’s assertion. “Aye,” he says, “that may indeed be a possibility. But then, I suppose that is what Jadale has hired you to find out.”

“Father, may I ask what your own knowledge is in relation to these attacks, sans what you have been told by Jadale?” Tirondalin asks, seemingly surprising himself as an edge of an interrogational tone creeps into his normally friendly voice. It is a tone that he is unhappy with, and seeks to rectify, “Vel and I are trying to gain a different angle on the situation, gain information which we may not already be privy to, and we immediately thought that a man of the faith may be able to help in his dealings with the people?” He ends with a question.

Abercrombie shakes his head negative. “I regret I can share nothing more than what Jadale has already told you. The castellan, she, and I have had many discussions about this. All we can determine as yet is that someone – or something – is waylaying the travelers along the trade road around this Keep. We all agree that such attacks must come to an end – and that is where you and your allies will act to determine the source of these attacks and report back to us so that swift justice may be brought to those responsible.”

Velgardrin says, “I still be needin’ a blanket. We best be headin’ that way Tiron.” The dwarven priest raises his hand and blesses Father Abercrombie with the words, “May the twin axes of the Father of Battles cleave evil asunder and keep the way before you open.” Father Abercrombie bows gracefully in return and then Velgardrin turns to leave with Tiron.

Tirondalin bows, “Well Father, assuming you know little more than we do, we'll be off, I believe. I sincerely thank you for your time.” He glances sideways at Velgardrin for reasons unknown, before continuing, “I am greatly interested in some further time with you, but I have responsibilities to the Keep that must first be met,” he states with an almost proud bearing. A smile cracks on his features, before long, however, “Well Vel, Cob, are we off?”

“We’ll keep you informed Father,” he half shouts as he walks out the large double doors.

Once Tiron and Velgardrin are outside, Velgardrin comments, “If it don’t be more than one bunch o’ evildoers mehaps ‘tis a very diverse group and diferunt parts is more vicious than others.”

“Such a group could work to our advantage my friend. A diverse group of evil doers can be easier turned against each other,” the half-elf states with wisdom.

Turning to Cob, he continues, starting with a smile, “Cob, my all-knowing friend, what can you tell us about this quartermaster and his business?”

The hunter replies, “Well, Quar’master Moseley has pretty much anything you can think of, I’d reckon. Prices are fair, too. Ain’t got no weapons er armor tho’ – no one ‘ere makes that kinda stuff. ‘is store is pretty much broken inta two parts. One side’s got campin’ gear and things and the other got craftsmens’ stuff. You know, glass bottles, baskets, clay bowls ‘n such.”

Soon enough, Tiron and Velgardrin can see for themselves just what Cob was talking about. Entering through the door that Cob indicates, the pair of adventurers finds themselves in a general store that resembles the same type of business in any other town. The walls are lined with shelves that hold all varieties of common adventuring gear – backpacks, blankets, oil, rope, and all the other familiar items.

The small bell that rings as the door opens results in some movement from behind a Dutch door that is set into the western wall of the adventuring gear section of the store. Moments later, a balding man in common workclothes appears from the back section of the store. He smiles at his newest customers.

“Hoy there, strangers! And hello, Cob! Quartermaster Moseley, at your service – what can I do for you today?”

The content of Company of the Silver Claws is the property and copyright of Brian Flood, and are not to be published or redistributed without permission.

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