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Elminster Speaks - Part 46
By Ed Greenwood
Doings in Delzimmer, Part 5
Any trade city, with all of its comings and goings of caravans and visiting traders, tends to be always awash with new and racing rumors. Some of the latest in Delzimmer concern the goblins who infest the western end of the Toadsquat Mountains; the ambitious Claunkrar Coster of Rethmar; and a local merchant by the name of Antholo Kraul (whose rumors will have to wait until our next converse).
An alchemist of Klionna, one Urngath Dorrund, recently hired the hundred-strong mercenary band of Rollivar's Redfangs to encage and bring back to him alive some forty goblins from the western Toadsquats (specifically from the peaks known as Klauntra's Leap, the Wyrmlar, and Liontlefang). The Redfangs did so, bringing him some sixty captives to allow for losses on the road back at the hands of expected goblin raiders from the more easterly Toadsquats. (Those raids did come, and they were beaten back with some losses on both sides.) The initial Redfang gathering attack became a pitched battle that folk from Delzmaer believe cost almost a thousand goblin lives. Dorrund has given no public reason for desiring the goblins, but rumor has it that he believes their blood has magical power because they spend their lives drinking of deep mountain cavern springs whose waters rise through a great store of magic. What that store of magic is, no one knows for sure -- and various rumors claim it to be all sorts of things, from lost dwarven or elven caches to buried Netherese cities and even the work of more ancient and powerful wizards.
The Treasure is nothing less than an ever-expanding network of portals linking key sites in Faerûn -- or rather, secluded hollows and lookout heights near important trade route waymoots and wealthy cities. By means of these magical routes the Claunkrar can move small, valuable cargoes (coffers of gems, distinctive stolen property, individual kidnap captives, and the like) swiftly across Faerûn. Once they gain a property in a city or trade town, they establish a cellar or indoor chamber portal therein to allow coster members to arrive and depart unseen -- and there are even whispers that they're growing bold enough to create portals on the roofs and in disused back stairs of palaces.
I've spared a glance or three in the direction of the Claunkrar -- enough to tell me that some truth lies behind these tales, and I'll explore them more with ye anon. I can say thus far that the Claunkrar are hiring guards to watch over some of their portals, starting to keep secrets (and build passwords and the like into portal operations), and that they're quietly hiring adventurers, brigands, and monsters -- shapechangers in particular -- to join their ranks. It's too early to say who's behind these schemes, or if this represents an ambitious new force in the ever-active, always-foolish "road to seizing power over all Faerûn" game -- but my ear shall be to the doorposts on this one.
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