Green Crane Chronicles

18 May, 2010

Murder! Murder! Blood-red savage murder!

But maybe I should recurse a little, as it has been some time since I last wrote. I only speak of what I know – muh else has happened besides what is documented here.

Our guild was offered a job to go clean some Kobolds out of a cave in one of the towns around passage. I shall not detail the deeds of valour done, nor the cunning of these vicious little trapsmiths. I shall note only that at the last, the kobolds it seemed unbolted or released a door leading to a large chamber inhabited by a single freakishly giant one of their kind. We joined battle with it, and were joined in turn by others of our guild who entered the chamber by another entrance. Good fortune indeed, as our small group was quickly overcome.

In any event, this freak was soon accounted for: in the pool of water from which it drank lay a Khyber dragonshard, which we took as booty. We determined to sell this object (although a better plan was later suggested, that we have the guild arcanix craft something useful to us from it).

I joined the group who went to find a buyer. We visited the message-house and sent missives to the Silver Flame, as intelligence had come to us that they are gearing up for some battle or other, and are purchasing shards in quantity. As two buyers is always better than one, our mage went with a companion to Arcanix, to sound out buyers there. Our work done for the nonce, we returned to guildhall, there to drink and perhaps wait for another commission.

But at the door was a human I did not recognise, in much distress concerning a person named “Lorne”, who had gone missing on the road to Zilargo. We consulted amongst ourselves. It transpired that this Lorne was known to the guild, and an ally of sorts, and so we agreed to go track him down. My memory of the details is hazy, as I was preoccupied with other concerns of which I will not speak. We travelled down the road to (I think) Marketplace, where none had seen him, and so we decided to trace the route back to Arcanix, in case some calamity had befallen him. At Marketplace we found evidence that we were not alone in seeking lost Lorne – there were wanted posters! But the poster of these bills was another ally. And so we joined fources and began retracing the route.

At some point in the proceedings (I remember nothing [I was totally not paying attention]) we met the rest of the guild. They had been hired to guard a caravan, conveying certain cargo to somewhere or other for the Church of the Silver Flame. I believe Lorne himself turned up at some point, as there was no more mention of trying to “find” him.

In any case, our comrades had had ill luck. A band of shifters had looted the wagon. A set of three drgonshards was safe, but the rest of the contents of the wagon was gone. As payment was conditional on all of it getting to somewhere or other safely, this was – well – a bit of a situation. We divided ourselves into two parties – one to guard the empty wagon, and one to go recover the cargo. I was assigned guard duty.

But it was not all dull, as we were attacked by a sizable group of shifters, accompanied by a minotaur. Battle ran for a while, and I daresay we were getting the better of them, when a distant howl sounded, and all of the shifters broke off the engagement and ran towards it, leaving us to deal with the troublesome minotaur.

Eventually, we reached somewhere-or-other, and met with the emissary who would pay us for the job we hadn’t done. We established that payment was contingent upon the return of the three dragonshards, and that the only cravan contents they were really interested in was certain weapons – the remainder of the cargo presumably being a decoy. We explained that our comrades even now were recovering the remainder of the shipment, and retired to an inn.

Our comrades eventually found us, and flushed with success bore six weapons of the silver flame recovered from the kobold raiders. But we only discovered three dragonshards in our luggage – one was missing. Since there was no way to decide which (if any) of the three was the one we recovered from the kobold cave, we decided to hand in all three as fulfilment of our mission.We also decided that we would no more accept missions from the silver flame, as part of their preparations for resumption of their war against the shifters. I am glad at this – a strange thing, how each individual may be good, and yet the organisation as a whole  engage in wars of extermination. It has been pointed out to me that as a nonhuman myself, who can know but that I and my kind will be next after the last shifter is slain?

Nevertheless, I was present in my capacity as treasurer when we delivered the items – the three shards and six weapons. But there was a problem. There were seven weapons in the shipment. The silver flame representative explained that we could give us our 1,000 gold for the transport of the  three dragonshards, but only 1,200 for the incomplete shipment as opposed to the 4,000 we would otherwise be paid. Further, he could not tell us what the seventh item might be, only that he could verify it when he saw it. They would depart in the morning, and I gave assurance that we would hand over either the six or the seven items by then.

Now, at this point I must explain, though it pains me to do so, that all has not been well within our guild. There has been politics, and talk of rifts and fractures. From the comments dropped by some of us, I have reason to suspect that some of us may have behaved in ways less than honourable, and that these acts may have become public knowledge.

Be that as it may, aside from the six weapons, another item of importance was recovered from the kobolds. An amulet. I thought me that this might very well be the seventh item, and approached our guild president openly in the inn common room concerning it. He explained that it may be difficult recovering it, as it had been awarded to one of us as loot, and that one might be a trifle … difficult to persuade with regards to returning it.

To me, the matter was plain – if indeed it was the item we had been sent to transport in safety, then it was not booty. And so I said – loudly enough for any to hear – that that item was worth 3,200 gold to the guild, and perhaps also ought to have mentioned the future golds it would cost us if our reputation for effectiveness were sullied by its non-recovery.

Job done, I thought – the amulet would surely quietly turn up, and no more need be said about the matter.

Some time and an ale or two later, those few of us in the common room heard a pounding and banging: “Barak! Barak, ar you al right? Answer!” Hastening towards the commotion, we saw Lorne [is that right? Was it Lorne or some other character?] hammering at a door. Barak had entered and locked himself in a moment ago, he explained, and there had been no sound since the bolt had slid.

We battered open the door, and our comrade was there, foully murdered on the floor. I … acted on an hunch and checked – indeed, the missing amulet was about his throat. I – perhaps consumed with self-importance – decided that my responsibility was as guild treasurer and took it, and a companion, to the silver flame emmisary, leaving Barak laying where he fell while my companions eagerly checked his personal effects for valuables with which to defray the cost of his resurrection. [OOC – I yelled “LOOT!” which was totally not in character for Baharash. No roleplaying XP for me 😦 ]

There remains little to tell. We woke the emmissary, betook us immediately to the Deneith stronghouse and arranged the handover of the items and the transfer of funds. And I know no more, but that Barak had separated himself from the guild earlier, that some held that this meant that we would not pay for his ressurection, and that some of us had therefore chosen to pay for his resurrection out of their own pockets.

[You know – a useful rule might be that a resurrection gives you a permanent failed saving-throw against death. Otherwise it gets a little silly.]

I would happily believe that Barak was slain by some assassin unknown, but for the amulet. I really have but one question – how came that amulet to be there, from the hand of the one of our number who had had it before? And why? I suppose that’s two questions, but no matter. If an attempt to frame  Barak for – for something, then surely it’s the clumsiest frame-up I ever heard tell of.