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Elminster Speaks - Part 14
By Ed Greenwood
Dark Temple Deeds, Darker Doers
Gormstadd of Voonlar has no less than three dozen hired "whisperers" (mainly traveling Sembian merchants and Moonsea peddlers) who do only one service for him: spreading false rumors as he directs, in return for handsome payments (typically 30 to 50 gp/month). A select few are paid more to be his eyes elsewhere, usually (so as to keep suspicions to a minimum) reporting only on specific things upon request, rather than snooping continuously.
Among his Dark Blessed, Gormstadd professes to be actively committed to rebuilding the decaying temple, but this is becoming a source of increasing embarrassment for him as repairs take longer and longer--and its clear that Gormstadd is keeping coins in reserve for something else.
None of the Blessed are privy to what that other purpose is, however. Gormstadds great secret is that he wants to build himself a fortified villa somewhere secluded in northwestern Sembia, among the hunting lodges of wealthy Sembian families, where he can run to if events go against him in Voonlar, or if he falls out of favor in the faith of True Darkness (and he believes that another sacking of the temple in Voonlar by adventurers or anything less than a whelmed army would bring him disfavor in the eyes of high-ranking Cyricists).
Unbeknownst to anyone else in Voonlar, three of Gormstadds "answering holy summons" to moots in various luxury country inns outside Ordulin (which serve many merchants and trading cabals as regular meeting-places) were false--no such moot had been called, and the Dark Patriarch of Voonlar was actually on land-buying forays.
In recent years hes purchased two parcels of land: Twilight Gate Farm, a run-down turnip farm reclaimed by the surrounding woods and now sporting only a hunting lodge and a well-stocked fishpond; and Owlsklar Wood, a wild and deep staghunting forest that once belonged to the prominent but now nearly extinct Sembian family of Blacklock. Gormstadd has done nothing to these lands except to hire (in Yhaunn) and install a steward, Aldamair Galashar (an oily and obsequious man possessed of the remains of good looks and the enmity of many cuckolded husbands), at Twilight Gate.
Galashar has been happily using the lodge as a storehouse for stolen goods (hes long been part of a cabal active in many Inner Sea ports, that steals material from warehouses, replaces what theyve looted with garbage, and then burns down the buildings), and Gormstadds been happily ignoring these activities. Soon he hopes to begin the huge expense of building a fortified manor in the very heart of Owlsklar--and has engaged the Landlook, three half-elven brothers who from a base in Ordulin survey lands for fees, reporting back on beast lairs, water sources, caverns, valuable timber, and the like, to examine Owlsklar.
Gormstadd has also spent time tracing who actually owns what in and around Voonlar, with an eye to selecting a loner who happens to own valuable land who could be magically coerced into donating such holdings to the temple just before an unfortunate and fatal accident happens to them--but as he feels this stratagem had best be used only once, and he wants to keep his machinations secret even from his two Dark Hands, he wants to select just the right victim. No one is yet in his mind as a good candidate.
Male human, 10-level rouge
Str 16, Dex 18, Con 15, Int 14, Wis 11, Cha 12
Fort +5, Ref +11, Will +3
Melee Attack: +10/+5
Ranged Attack: +11, +6
Special: Sneak attack +5d6, uncanny dodge, crippling strike, proficient with club, crossbow, dagger, dart, mace, quarterstaff, sap, shortbow, short sword, and light armor
Skills: Bluff +14, Climb +7, Disable Device +9, Disguise +10, Escape Artist +10, Forgery +7, Gather Information +15, Hide +16, Innuendo +11, Intimidate +5, Listen +5, Move Silently +13, Open Locks +9, Pick Pockets +10, Search +8, Sense Motive +9, Spot +6, Use Rope +8
Feats: Ambidexterity, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Mobility
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