By Brian Flood
Chapter 22 - Separate Agendas, Pt I
Kendall Keep, Kingdom of Cormyr
Noon, 18th Day of Mirtul; Year of the Tankard (1370 DR)
Salik slips through the outer bailey of the Keep, intent on reaching the open-air market. Turning the corner, near the Quartermaster’s store, the rogue is pleased to see that the travelling merchants now occupy some of the booths in the marketplace. In fact, there are seven booths and carts set up in the courtyard that serves as the marketplace. Among the wares being offered are glass containers, preserved meats, animal pelts and furs, wood carvings, suits of armor, clothing items, and a small booth selling mugs of ale.
A small handful of the Keep’s residents browse through the various merchants’ wares. Also roaming through the marketplace are pairs of armed caravan guards. Salik quickly notices that the guards have their weapons peace-bonded, as is required.
Salik looks around the marketplace and suddenly remembers the owlbear pelt that his companions liberated from the powerful beast as he sees the animal pelt merchant. He decides to go and inquire how much it would be worth.
“Excuse me sir,” he says to the furrier, “but how much would you offer for an owlbear pelt? I don’t have it on me at the moment, but if you are interested I will get my friends to bring it along to show you.”
The merchant whistles softly in response. “An owlbear pelt, you say? I’d be willin’ to give ya fifty gold lions fer a good pelt off one o’ those beasties!”
Salik immediately follows the furrier’s response with a second question. “Do you know any merchants who would be interested in purchasing this crowbar – never used – and these iron rations? I feel I have over equipped myself and find all this stuff is weighing me down.”
The man frowns as he considers the question. “Have you tried the provender here in the Keep? I can’t recall his name off hand, but I believe he carries some adventuring supplies on his shelves. He just might be willing to take those items off your hands.
“Now,” the furrier says, changing the subject, “How old did you say this owlbear pelt is?”
“Could you point me in the right direction good sir?” Salik asks. “I’m afraid I’m not familiar with the layout of the Keep.
“The owlbear pelt is only about a day old,” Salik shakes his head sadly. “One of my companions almost left his life with the beast. I will bring it to you a bit later and then we can negotiate a price once you’ve seen it.”
The merchant nods. “That’ll work. As fer the quartermaster, just make yer way back toward the gatehouse. The quartermaster’ll be on yer left as you pass those private dwellin’s along the south wall.”
* * * * *
The Green Man Inn
Declan follows Salik westward through the outer bailey. The mage takes note of the half a dozen or more merchant booths that are now established in the marketplace as he makes his way to the Green Man Inn.
Opening the door to the Inn, Declan steps into a small entranceway. Calista, the innkeeper, sits behind the desk in the hallway.
“Hello again, sir! Welcome back to the Keep. Can I help you?” she asks the mage.
“Good eve, Calista,” Declan says with a smile. “I’ve come ter arrange rooms for meself and me companions. I ‘ope yer ‘ave two rooms available that are big enough for all of us?”
The innkeeper returns Declan’s smile and looks over his shoulder toward the door. “Yes, I have rooms,” she answers, “but…um…how many ‘friends’ do you have?”
“There are eight of us good lady,” Declan says in response.
“Hmmm…well, I only have two rooms open,” Calista answers. “Normally our rooms have two beds each, but I can set them up with a couple of hammocks or floor pallets each to bring you to eight sleepers. It’ll be one gold for each of you for the night – that’d be eight gold lions, all told. Or, I can give both rooms for the tenday for five gold per guest – that would come out to two score lions. Which’ll it be?”
Declan checks the small purse and discovers fourteen platinum pieces. He takes out two platinum pieces and hands them over to Calista “Here is, ah, right, 10 lions. I’m bloody well not sure ‘ow long me muckers and I will want ter stay, so keep the bloomin’ two remainin’ as deposit in case we want ter stay longer. I will know more later and will let yer know. Alright?”
Calista accepts the two rare coins with a surprise. “Very good, sir! I can give you one key now, but it will take us a bit to get the second room ready.” She hands over a single iron key.
“Room number nine, upstairs,” she explains. “I can have the second room ready for you in about an hour.”
Declan nods and takes the key. “Thanks. Wen me companions come in, let them know where I am. And also let me know wen the room is ready.” Then the mage heads upstairs to room nine to start studying his spells.
* * * * *
The Temple of Torm
The litter-bearers watch as Declan and Salik head westward toward the market and the Inn. Picking up the litter, the remaining five adventurers – with Cob also aiding with the litter – slowly make their way by the shortest route possible to the Keep’s 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. Without pause, the adventurers pass through the double doors with their burden.
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.
A man dressed in dark crimson robes rises from where he was kneeling at the altar. His eyes widen and a smile creases his face at the sight of the visitors.
“Greetings friends, Torm’s Truth be with you!” he declares. Seeing who it is that has come to his chapel, he quickly adds, “And hello again, Tirondalin, Cob, and Velgardrin – champion of Clangeddin! I must say I am impressed – it has been only three days since we discussed the bandits. I presume you have brought justice to the criminals and have returned for our discussion?”
Then the cleric’s eyes fall upon the litter, and his smile disappears. “Is your friend ill? Quickly now, bring him forward.”
“You do me overmuch honor I fear,” Velgardrin replies. “I feel little like a champion for all is not so well as that. Indeed, we airn’t sure we’ve even seen any bandits yet but we may have battled something much worse. That tale can wait, but Baulin can’t.”
He nods his head at the unmoving figure on the litter. “He was sore wounded by a strange creature. An owlbear, Tiron called it. I did what I could, but he needs more. The rest of us brought him to your care.” Then Velgardrin introduces the rest of the party while Father Abercrombie checks Baulin.
“Hmmm…well met,” the human priest mutters as he inspects Baulin’s wounds. After a few seconds, he frowns and looks up at the companions.
“Your friend is gravely injured. It is only be his gods’ graces that he has survived thus far. From the looks of it, this owlbear creature has shattered his collarbone. I fear that even I do have sufficient power to heal that severe an injury. I think with a few days’ rest – and some ministrations either on my part or by one of your own priests – he will regain health, but not the use of that arm. He will probably need to seek more powerful healing, once he has recovered sufficiently enough to travel.”
Alain, who has removed his hat to walk in the holy house, steps forward. “Excuse me Father. Velgardrin, with your permission I will remove that untanned hide from this place of worship?” Alain’s hand gestures at the owlbear hide covering Baulin.
Malk pulls himself back from his inspection of his surroundings at Velgardrin’s introduction. “My respects priest,” he says, bowing to the crimson robed cleric. “We have not met before I believe; I am proud to say that I travel with these people. Where can our companion stay whilst he receive these ministrations from those who would help him?”
The priest smiles gently at the bard. “Well, if you intend to see to him yourself, I would imagine he could stay wherever you plan on staying – provided that he is given a bed. Should you care to leave him here in Torm’s care, it will require a slight increase in the donation which you will surely give to our humble chapel if we are to provide Torm’s healing powers, as well.”
Tirondalin frowns at Abercrombie’s unfavorable diagnosis of Baulin’s current condition. “I’m not sure that we can afford to quest after this healer when we are in service to the Keep,” he states reservedly, the words not coming easily to the young half-elf as his spirits are visibly dampened by the circumstances.
He returns his attention to the priest, “Thank you for your time, chaplain. I believe Velgardrin and I can bring Baulin back to his feet again but from there…” he trails off mid-sentence, hoping that someone else will say the words that he would prefer not to – that the party may have to leave the dwarf behind. His fingers return to his oaken ring, twisting it absentmindedly, deep in thought.
“Yes, I think that is best Tiron,” says Amiel, unfolding her arms.
“My greetings, holy father,” she says bowing deeply to Abercrombie. “Although I’m not entirely sure what my companion here meant by ‘in service of the Keep’, he is correct. We will seek the aid another healer for our companion. Perhaps you would be so kind as to suggest another of Torm’s servants nearby who could assist?”
Before the priest can respond, Amiel says quickly but slightly embarrassed, “And on a private note, may I call into the chapel from time to time to pray…”
“Yes, yes, my dear woman, of course it is!” Abercrombie answers. “Now, what are we to do with your friend?”
“With all respect to Torm, I believe that it is in our comrades best interests to return with him to our lodgings and get him settled,” says Malk using the more formal modes of speech. “Before we take our leave with our comrade, could you tell us priest, of a fair price for Torm’s blessing on our friend, hurt while in loyal duty to this keep and in facing danger in obedience to the wishes of the local people?”
Chaplain Abercrombie responds saying, “I think Torm would accept a donation of fifty gold lions per spell that we expend on your wounded comrade. Another single lion for each day he spends in our time would be appreciated, as well.”
Next, the cleric turns to Amiel. “As for another priest, you would have to travel far to find a priest of any religion with the power to cast the needed healing. I would think that Arabel would have a handful of priests with the requisite strength. On the other hand, the dwarves of the Thunder Peaks likely have their own priests, as well.”
Turning to Amiel, Malk says quietly in her ear for Abercrombie not to hear. “I suggest that we make a donation to the church and return with Baulin to our lodgings where we can further his healing and discuss our next moves.”
Alain looks back and forth between the party members. Matching his tone of voice to Malk’s, so that Abercrombie will not hear, Alain whispers to the group. “I still have the gold piece that we found at the grave site. We could use that as a donation?”
Malk whispers back. “Sounds like an excellent idea, Alain. As the shepherd said to the nymph, ‘lets get the flock out of here’.” With that, the bard readies his corner of the stretcher for moving.
Seeing no further comments coming from his companions, Alain moves over to Abercrombie while fishing the gold lion from his pouch belt. “Thank you father for your time and council. Please accept this as a token of our respect and reverence for Torm.” After handing the holy man the lion, Alain moves back to his corner of the litter and prepares to carry Baulin to their next destination.
Tiron nods at Alain’s words but finds the time to cast another glance at the wounded Baulin before speaking himself. “No doubt you shall be seeing us again, kind Father,” he states with a half-bow. “And I’m not sure that we’ll always be able to bring you gold, but we will use all talents at our disposals to repay you for your time and healing faith,” continues the young half-elf with an eloquence that surprises even himself. Hefting his bow over his shoulder, he moves to help Alain with the litter.
“I thank you Master Alain, as you as well Tirondalin,” the cleric replies. “May Torm’s True Hand see your friend to a speedy recovery.”
Before leaving the chapel Velgardrin asks Father Abercrombie what hours of the day he is available should the group need his assistance.
“I am here most all hours of the day,” Abercrombie replies. “We hold services at dawn and midday, and I reside here within Torm’s walls.”
Having said their farewells, the small band of litter bearers lifts Baulin’s unconscious form off the temple floor. Maneuvering themselves to face the exit, they carry their burden from the chapel.
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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