Greyhawk: Gem of the Flanaess
Part One - Chapter Five: The Final Resting Place of Dorshak Krane
It was on Godsday, the 25th day of Reaping, in the Common Year of 580, when the Company of the Green Dragon was attacked by a band of adventurers as they were tending to business at Porbell’s Pawnshop. Having decided to report the incident to the City Watch after much debate, and despite Brom’s misgivings, Tadwin and Zeke set out to the Citadel to try and find Inspector Brock, a Deputy Constable in the City Watch and a lifelong friend of Tadwin’s father. While they were gone, Brom decided to disappear from the pawnshop as well, not wanting to be there when the City Watch arrived. This left only Corvyn and Kelgor to watch over the captured adventurers who had attacked them. Nothing else happened however during this time and eventually Tadwin and Zeke returned, along with Inspector Brock and several of his men. Because of Tadwin’s close connection with Inspector Brock, and the fact that the Inspector was well aware of other incidents that the band had been involved in, such as their dealings with the muggers who had stolen the orphan’s toys for Pelor’s Day, the Inspector had little reason to doubt the claims of Tadwin and Zeke, and arrested the four captured men without too many questions. And just to verify the band’s story, he assured them that Constable, Derider Fanshen, would question the men using divination spells if she felt it was necessary. All of the men’s possessions and money were confiscated as well, but Inspector Brock told the band that they would be informed if it was discovered that the men were wanted for any other crimes and whether or not there would be any reward for their capture. The band was also told not to leave town in case the City Watch wanted to question them any further. The only problem that occurred was when Corvyn was recognized by a member of the City Watch, who happened to be an old childhood rival of his by the name of Krieger. Naturally, Krieger tried, unsuccessfully, to cast doubt on the band’s claims and he and Corvyn exchanged a few insults and veiled threats. But all this did was to insure that Krieger would continue to be a thorn in Corvyn’s side if Corvyn should happen to have any trouble in the near future with the City watch. Meanwhile, Brom spent some time wandering about the Old City. By this point, he had long ago decided to follow in his father’s footsteps by taking up the serious study of alchemy, and he now felt he had the means to do so. For years, during his spare time, he had been pouring through the pages of his father’s book of alchemical formulae, but had yet to do any real experiments or practical applications. What he needed now was a place where he could set up a laboratory, something more permanent than a room at the Green Dragon Inn. So he found such a place at Mama Esther’s Bakery and Boarding House, a shabby little building in the lowest, out-of-the-way-corner of the Thieves’ Quarters where he rented one of four cheap, single rooms. He paid a full month’s rent up front, and went and bought himself an alchemist’s kit at a local alchemist’s store and began looking around for the proper lab equipment with which he could begin to brew potions. Towards the evening, Brom made his way to the location where he had agreed the day before to meet his old friend Dodger. Brom had asked Dodger to find out what he could about Sennard Porbell, the owner of the pawnshop that the band had been hired to run for a few days. At their meeting, Dodger told Brom two rumors about Porbell that, if true, were quite revealing. The first was that Porbell was actually an accountant for the Thieves’ Guild. The second was that Porbell had recently developed an overwhelming passion for gambling. Brom thanked his good friend and paid him twice the usual amount for his services. A short while later, when Brom finally returned to the pawnshop and told his companions what he had learned, another look through Porbell’s inventory records seemed to indicate that, not only had Porbell gambled away all of his profits, but that he was now seriously in debt, and may have lost a lot of money that wasn’t really his to begin with. It was no wonder that Porbell was anxious to get out of town. With this new information, the band was more curious than ever to discover what was inside the locked and trapped safe room that they weren’t supposed to open. So Brom picked the lock on the door, and Tadwin opened it from a safe distance with a spell, thereby avoiding the electrical discharge that went off around the door. But a thorough examination of the room showed that it was completely empty. Apparently, whatever Porbell had of value that he hadn’t already sold, he took with him. Not long after opening the door to the safe room, the pawnshop was visited by three darkly dressed men, the last of which locked the door behind him, while one kept an eye out the store front window and the third approached the counter and asked for Porbell. When Zeke told him that Porbell was not there, the third man, who never gave his name, said they were from “the Guild” and that they had come to collect their money. Zeke made no attempt to display any ignorance in the matter, knowing exactly which guild the man was referring to, told him that Porbell had left town, and that he had left no money for the guild or any information about it. The man then asked to see the Guild’s ledgers, but again Zeke told him that they were not aware of any such ledgers. Having overheard the conversation and realizing that trouble could be brewing, those members of the band that were not already in the front room of the shop, stepped into the room to see what was happening. When Brom stepped into the room, he immediately recognized the man by the door as his old childhood rival, Sykes, who likewise recognized Brom. Now that it was obvious that the band was not about to pay the Guild their money, Sykes took the opportunity to insult Brom, calling him a runt and a worthless little shit. But Brom had grown bolder since his days as a street urchin and emboldened by the presence of his band mates, he stepped up to Sykes, spit in his face and glared at him in an effort to show that he was no longer afraid of him. Angered by this, Sykes cursed and wiped his face. Then he made a move towards Brom as he reached inside his cloak to draw a blade. But the man in front, clearly a higher ranking member of the Guild, quickly stopped Syke’s advance with an outstretched arm and reminded him of their business. Having been admonished by his superior, Sykes backed off and mumbled what may or may not have been an idle threat about getting even with Brom. With a potential rumble now averted, which would not have been good for either party involved, Zeke asked the three men how much money was owed to them, and was told that it was a total of 2,500 gp! Again, Zeke told the man that they did not have that kind of money. So the man told the band that he would give them 24 hours to come up with the money and that they would return the next day. Then the three men made their exit from the shop. As they did so, a brick, most likely from the hand of Sykes, came hurtling through the shop’s front window and landed at the feet of our companions. With the three rogues gone, the band debated on what to do now. Some suggested abandoning the pawnshop altogether hoping that would get the Thieves’ Guild off their backs. Others thought that, at the very least, they should not be at the shop the next day when the three men returned. But Brom had good reason to believe that this would not appease the Thieves’ Guild, that their lives, in fact, might be in jeopardy, and that they would not be able to hide from the Guild for very long. So, as much as it bothered him to admit it, he pointed this out to his friends. Unfortunately, no one could come up with a decent solution to their dilemma. So Brom, once again, decided to seek the advice of his contacts and returned to the headquarters of the Beggar’s Union in the Slum Quarter. When he arrived there, it was now past sundown, and his reception by the other beggars was very mixed. Some of those who had been friendly towards him in the past remained cautiously friendly, but most seemed to feel that Brom had abandoned the Union or knew that Beggarmaster Gaspar had ordered all his Union privileges to be revoked, and so were not so pleased to see him. Whatever the case, Brom knew that the Beggar’s Union was not a place he could count on for aid much longer – at least not without paying for it. But this was a serious situation, as he knew that the band could not afford to make enemies of the Thieves’ Guild. So, without alerting the Beggarmaster to his presence, he got word to his old friend and tutor, The Taskmaster, Haarkon Diardra, who agreed to meet with him privately in one of the many secret hiding places known to the beggars. There, Brom explained the band’s situation to Haarkon and asked him for his advice. Haarkon suggested for the band to point out to the Thieves’ Guild the band’s already proven skills and offer to make a deal with them. He reminded Brom that it was he who had told him the rumor about the missing gemcutter. If the band, for example, could find some of the supposed missing treasure of this gemcutter, perhaps they could cut a deal with the Guild and give them a portion of that treasure. Hoping this was sound advice, Brom returned to his companions in the band and told them of Haarkon’s suggestion, which they all agreed on. That night, fearing the possibility of being attacked by more than one enemy, since the rogue from the evil band of adventurers had also gotten away, the band all stayed at the pawnshop and maintained at least one person on guard duty throughout the night. But, fortunately, nothing occurred. The following morning, the band opened the store as usual, though once again, it seemed rather pointless as they had nothing of value to sell. They were however, pleased to learn from Inspector Brock, who came by with several men late in the morning, that the evil band of adventurers, which they had captured on the previous day, had in fact been wanted for a number of serious crimes, and as a reward for capturing these criminals the band was rewarded with all of their magic items. By this point, the band had collected enough magic items since their formation to divide the items up – so they did so. It was at about this time that Kelgor brought up a subject that had been on his mind for quite some time but which he had never gotten around to discussing. He had been noticing, as had all of his companions, that Zeke was capable of casting a few arcane spells, but not once had he ever seen Zeke studying a spell book. Kelgor wondered how this was possible and he asked Zeke about it. Zeke was rather evasive on the subject, acting almost as if he did not understand the question, or perhaps did not know the answer himself. He did not go into much detail, but he admitted he was a different kind of wizard, a very rare sort of wizard, which was more properly termed a “sorcerer”, as his command of magic was based more on his force of personality rather than on the study of books. He also admitted that in addition to being a sorcerer, he was an equally rare “oracle”, which is someone who has been blessed by the gods. He said he was mainly a follower of Boccob, the God of Magic, and this explained how he was able to cast a few divine spells as well as arcane. But part of being an oracle, he explained, meant that one was also cursed by the gods, and in his case, he was haunted by malign spirits, which explained why the band was always seeing strange things occur and hearing odd noises whenever they were around Zeke. Still, there was much that Zeke claimed he could not explain, such as why he was haunted or why the gods chose to make him an oracle. On the other hand, there were quite a lot of mysteries about Zeke that he did seem to know the answers to but which he apparently did not care to discuss. Tadwin, being very curious about all this, later on and in secrecy, used his knowledge of astrology and was able to determine that Zeke had apparently descended from a family line of great power and that, partly because of this, he had great potential for the future. But beyond this, Tadwin was not able to learn a great deal more about the band’s charismatic leader. Later, that same day, a few members of the band paid a visit to the headquarters of the Jewelers’ and Gemcutters’ Guild and inquired about the rumor that they were looking to hire someone to investigate the strange disappearance of one of their members. The Guild confirmed this and offered to pay the band 50 gp each if they could find the missing gemcutter, whose name was Dorshak Krane. They suggested that the band start by investigating Dorshak’s home, which was located in the Artisan’s Quarter, and the band informed them they would begin on the following day. First, however, the band needed to try and make a deal with the Thieves’ Guild. That evening, exactly 24 hours after their last visit to the pawnshop, the same three rogues paid the band another visit. When Zeke told them they did not have their money, the leader of the bunch acted disappointed but in a very sarcastic manner, saying that he was sorry but that the matter was now out of his hands. Clearly this was his way of threatening the band. It was then, however, that Zeke made the three a proposal, offering to perform some service for them instead. Zeke managed to gain their interest, and the leader of the rogues brought up the missing gemcutter. This, of course, seemed too convenient to be a mere coincidence and it was likely that the rogues were already aware that the band had been hired to look into the matter. Nevertheless, it was a matter of great interest to the Thieves’ Guild and should the band be successful in their task, it could provide the Thieves’ Guild with a means of acquiring some of gemcutters’ wealth without having to get their hands dirty, since Dorshak had undoubtedly been paying the guild protection money and was therefore off limits to the guild – at least officially. None of this was explained to the band, of course. Instead, the leader of the rogues told Zeke they would take the proposal to their superiors and come back in a while with an answer. About an hour or so later, much to the apparent disappointment of Sykes, the three rogues were back, and they quickly came to an agreement with the band for half of all the monetary treasure found inside Dorshak’s home. They also wanted the band to report to them if they should happen to learn anything concerning the whereabouts of the rogue of the evil band that had attacked them. He went by the name of Jan and the Thieves’ Guild was apparently looking for him because he was a freelance thief operating within the city limits. The remainder of the day was uneventful, and so it was on the following day, Earthday, the 28th day of Reaping, that the band began their investigation into the disappearance of Dorshak Krane. As suggested by the Jewelers and Gemcutters’ Guild, the band’s first stop, and as it turns out, their only stop, was the residence of Dorshak Krane in the Artisan’s Quarter. Dorshak, as the band had been told, was a gemcutter of incredible skill and artistry, an exceedingly wealthy dwarf, and a major shareholder in the Habendorf amethyst mine in the Cairn Hills. Yet he was still incredibly mean. Though he had a large mansion, he dressed in rags and his fellow members in the Jewelers and Gemcutters’ Guild used to estimate that his total expenditure per year probably never exceeded a single gold piece! Two months prior, Dorshak failed to turn up at the Guildhall where he was due to put the finishing touches to a large fire opal. A delegation from the Guild subsequently broke into the house to find that Dorshak had disappeared without a trace. By order of the local magistrate the house was boarded up until either Dorshak or the deeds of ownership to the building were found. And that his how the mansion appeared when the Company of the Green Dragon arrived. The mansion had two gardens surrounded by a fence, but clearly these gardens had not been maintained even when Dorshak was going about his usual business. At the side door which led into the kitchen, it appeared that some of the boards covering the door and been pried open. Once inside the mansion, the band found it to be almost entirely lacking in furniture or decoration and it was obvious that Dorshak had utilized very little of the house in many years if he ever did so at all. Finding a trap door leading to a basement in the kitchen, the band decided to put a few pots and pans on it to alert them should the door be opened while they were in another room. A short while later, as if on cue, the band heard the clanking of pots and pans while they were in a nearby room. But when they ran back to the kitchen, they could find nothing but the pots and pans – which had obviously been moved. A few minutes later, as the band was making their way through the main entrance hall, on the floor of which lay the pieces of a broken stained glass window, they heard the sound of chains being rattled and a ghostly wailing that seemed to emanate from a room on the second floor. Now, unsure of what to expect, the band cautiously proceeded up the stairs and towards the sound. At the top of the stairs, the band opened a couple of doors before coming face to face with a ghostly apparition of a man. It moved towards them in a threatening manner as though it would attack, but then stopped short of actually attacking. Instead, the ghost told them to leave the house. Because of this, and certain oddities about the ghost’s appearance and behavior, some members of the band suspected the ghost was only an illusion. But other members of the band were not convinced. Then suddenly, it let out a horrific wail, which frightened Corvyn and Tadwin, who took off running back down the stairs. The rest of the band moved forward however, and as they did so the ghost mysteriously vanished. They searched the room where the ghost had been but could find nothing. Moments later, they encountered another ghost in a different room. This time it was a dwarf, but again it told the band to leave and stopped short of actually attacking. Just as before, some members of the band were convinced it was only an illusion, but Brom dove past it to try and flank it. However, it also let out a wail that sent Zeke running down the stairs, while Brom ran to a corner of the room. By this point, Corvyn and Tadwin had run a good ways down the street and now Zeke was not far behind, leaving only Brom and Kelgor inside the mansion. But when the ghost wailed and sent Zeke and Brom running, Brom caught a brief glimpse of a peculiar looking gnome in the room, which then vanished just as quickly as the ghosts. Despite his spell-induced fear, Brom was now certain that the ghosts had been illusions. At the same time, Kelgor, who had been at the rear of the group all along and had missed seeing much of the things that the others saw, entered the room and watched as a bright flash of colorful light suddenly appeared and momentarily stunned and blinded Brom. This time, Kelgor saw the gnome appear and he took a couple of swings at it with his axe, managing to wound the gnome. The gnome, in turn, tried to cast a few spells at Kelgor, but he had no luck getting past the dwarf’s resistance to magic. Eventually the gnome was forced to create a cloud of mist in which to make his escape. Soon, Brom had recovered from his blindness and he aided the dwarf in looking for the gnome. But gradually it became evident that the gnome had somehow got past them and escaped. A short while later, they were being attack from the rear by a spellcasting gnome and the two began to wonder if there was more than one gnome. Still, Kelgor remained unaffected by the gnome’s spells, all of which were directed at him, though none of them appeared to be lethal. So again, the gnome was forced to try and escape. This time it cast a spell and turned gaseous as it quickly moved down the stairwell. But Brom gulped down an extract that he had made earlier in the day, thanks to his recent studies in alchemy, and bolted down the stairs at an incredibly fast rate, thereby keeping ahead of the fleeing cloud of gas. Though they could not physically stop the gnome in his gaseous form, Brom and Kelgor were able to flank it and do damage to it with their weapons. Still the gnome almost managed to make his escape by entering a fireplace, but that is where the cloud of gas came to a stop as it was continually struck by weapons. Eventually, when it became clear that the cloud of gas was no longer trying to flee, Brom and Kelgor suspected that the gnome might actually be dead or unconscious. By this point, Corvyn, Tadwin and Zeke had all stopped their running and it was at about this time when they returned to the mansion. Brom and Kelgor explained to them what had occurred in their absence and they waited for the gaseous form spell to wear off. When it did, they found that the gnome had indeed died of its injuries. Moments later, they were being attacked again by an identical looking gnome. But this gnome, who was apparently grieving over the death of the other gnome, was easily captured. With the gnome now in the hands of the band, it did not take much for him to begin talking. He explained to the band that his name was Zibber and the other gnome was his twin brother Dophdar. The two gnomes had been holed up in the mansion for about a week and they had been looking for Dorshak’s lost fortune. He said they never intended to harm anyone, only wanting to scare others away so they could continue their search, and claimed they had had no luck in finding the treasure. Unfortunately, his brother was now dead and the band could not help but feel a bit sorry for him. His story seemed to be confirmed when the band found the gnomes’ hiding places in the basement. In one of the rooms in the basement, the band was forced to kill eight giant rats that attacked them. But after searching the whole house, they could find no treasure nor any sign of its owner. So Tadwin cast a spell to locate secret doors and a trapdoor was found on the second floor leading into the attic. Brom crawled up into the attic by himself and looked around, finding nothing but a fireplace on one side of an inaccessible, central chamber. But while examining the interior of the fireplace, a metal shutter slammed down behind him, trapping him inside the fireplace. Then the floor of the fireplace dropped out below him, sending Brom down a chute that dropped him thirty feet into the basement! The others heard the muffled sounds of all this and climbed into the attic to find out what had happened. When they did so, they could hear the sound of someone in a frantic state yelling and screaming from inside the central chamber. So the band looked around to find whatever they could to pry open the metal shutter, which took considerable time. Meanwhile, down in the basement, Brom, having found a small crack in a brick wall, was trying to dig his way out of another chamber. By the time Brom had freed himself from the chamber in the basement and returned to the attic, his companions in the attic had just about made their way into the central chamber. When at last a hole was created large enough to allow the band into the chamber, a crazed, wild-eyed dwarf suddenly attacked them with his bare hands. But he did not get far before Tadwin knocked him unconscious with a color spray spell. Inside the chamber, the band found a chest loaded with coins and gems and three scroll tubes, only one of which detected as being magical. Of the two non-magical scrolls, one was the title deed to the mansion, and the other was a share certificate for the Habendorf mine. The magical one they did not look at. Now that Dorshak had been found alive, although he was clearly quite insane, the band debated for a long while on what to do with him and what the band had found. Many ideas were suggested, some less moral and less ethical than others. But in the end, this is what they finally agreed to do: Dorshak would be handed over to the Jewelers and Gemcutters’ Guild, which would then have to decide what to do with him, as he was not mentally capable of taking care of himself (or so the band conveniently reasoned). The band would also explain to them that burglars had apparently found Dorshak’s lost treasure, as it was nowhere to be found. This would explain Dorshak’s constant ravings about thieves when the band finally found him. As for the share certificate to the mine, they gave it to the gnome Zibber, to appease him as they did not know what else to do with it and Zibber was convinced he could make use of it. The title deed to the mansion they also gave to the Jewelers and Gemcutters’ Guild who would have to put it up for auction if it was deemed that Dorshak or a family member could not take care of it. The rest, the band would keep for themselves, including five magic rings they had taken, though a portion of this would have to be given to the Thieves’ Guild. Feeling certain that the Thieves’ Guild would be keeping an eye on them as they left the mansion, the band only took half of the coins they had found, knowing that half of these coins would have to be given to the Thieves’ Guild. The rest of the coins, they stashed in a sewer outlet that they found in the basement. Most of the wealth however, was in the form of gems, which according to the signed document they had, was not a part of the agreement with the Thieves’ Guild. The band then carried out their plan, making sure the gnome was not seen leaving the mansion. Soon after taking Dorshak to the Jewelers and Gemcutters’ Guild and leaving him there, along with the deed to the house, the band returned to the pawnshop. Almost immediately, the three rogues from the Thieves’ Guild arrived and demanded their half of the money. The coins were then divided up and the rogues collected almost 5,000 gp worth, which was about twice what Porbell had owed them. So the Thieves’ Guild was now happy. But, unknown to them, the band ended up collecting almost 30,000 gp worth in coins and gems – and this was after the Thieves’ Guild took their cut! However, not all of this was in their possession at this point. That night after sundown, the band returned to the Artisan’s Quarter and entered an access into the sewer system not far from Dorshak’s mansion, something that Brom was somewhat familiar with. From there the band made their way in the direction of Dorshak’s mansion. Along the way, however, they were surprised by an otyugh that was hiding in a pile of trash. It attacked them and the band was forced to kill it. A short while later, they came upon the other half of the coins that they had hid. And a while after that, the band returned to the pawnshop where they divided up all the treasure they had acquired on this very profitable day.