Corruption of Azim

Chapter 1

The Wizard's Homecoming

On a dreary, overcast day in September, a party of four made their way North along the road to Fallerun. They stopped briefly at an old weather-beaten signpost. The wood had cracked and the paint was almost too faint to read, but they determined that they were only five miles away from the small town. They rode their horses at a moderate pace.

They had passed few travelers on the road. Those they had encountered gave them a wide berth. This was certainly due to the ominous look of the party. Tyrus and Gaimon rode with their full plate armor on. Neither of them looked like men to be trifled with. Alongside the Elf rode Asmodeus wearing a dark cloak. None of them spoke much as they traveled along.

In stark contrast to the mood set by the other riders and the weather, Killashandra chattered happily to her white horse Fallacy. With her cloak’s hood thrown back, her hair was tousled by the occasional breeze. She was busily explaining to the horse how they were close to their destination. At Fallerun there would be fresh apples and oats, and a stable with hay.

Soon they could see a few farms off away from the main road. Then the old grey wall of Fallerun was finally visible. It was in a state of disrepair with fallen stones and moss growing up the sides. Asmodeus noted how much worse it had gotten since his last visit home. It was growing so bad that he briefly wondered if people were actively knocking it down.

There was a gap in the wall where the road ahead led into the town proper. “Guards,” Gaimon said then spit on the ground. The rest of the group took a closer look ahead. Three guards were present at the wall ahead. They seemed to be resting on the wall or on the ground. Nearby the top of an old wooden tower was visible over the wall.

DM
You are approaching the town of Fallerun. At your current pace it will take you maybe two or three minutes to reach the guards at the wall. It’s hard to tell if they’ve spotted you or not, but they don’t seem to be reacting to you.

Unless you specify otherwise, your party will continue up the road.

Eryx
Asmodeus would like to do several things, and isn’t too concerned about sneaking in under the guards or anything. The “front door” of the city will do fine. Anyway, first he would try to visit the schoolteacher that recommended him for the university all those years ago. Of all the people in town, this man would be the one most aware of how things have played out under Renferell. Second, get a good look at the town and see what its condition is. Third, visit a local inn to talk to patrons and see what’s going on in the area, mostly to get ideas on how to begin the downfall of the inept mayor. Fourth, try to contact Elandra if she’s in town, get her update on things. He has prepared “mirror image” for this specific reason today. If the DM decides that Asmodeus’s parents are alive, he would want to visit them too.

DM
I don’t see how that spell would help you. You’ll have to elaborate on it when it becomes time to use it. As for Asmodeus’ parents, they were alive the last time he visited Fallerun some 3 years ago.

As the party drew closer to the wall, the guards began to get up. They stood in the road to block the way. The one on the left put his hand to the hilt of his sword, but did not draw it. Movement could also be spotted from the tower where there were at least two archers looking out at the party.

The guard in the middle of the road took a few steps forward as the party slowly approached, held out his hand and said, “Hold, travelers!” As the party reigned in their horses, the guard continued, “Each traveler must pay a five gold fee before entering the city. I apologize for any inconvenience with this policy.”

DM
None of you have ever before heard of a policy requiring an entry fee to any city in Validras or elsewhere. Neither Asmodeus nor Gaimon recall this policy from their previous visits to Fallerun.

Whipblade
Tyrus is trying to play it low key right now, and will pay the fee without comment, but he and Asmodeus will share a meaningful glance. Something obviously must be done about Renferell.

Eryx
Asmodeus would want to ask why the new policy? Do local farmers have to pay it? What about him, as the son of local farmers? Traders? But then he would pay the fee if asked. Gaimon would be licking his lips in anticipation. The tension for violence is building, but he respects Asmodeus enough to not go all psycho right now. But he’s waiting . . .


Asmodeus frowned. “Why the new policy? Is this something the local farmers must also pay, or just travelers?”

“Only travelers who do not live in Fallerun must pay this entrance fee. The policy is meant to help them and the entire town. Mayor Renferell set up this policy to help discourage troublemakers and to ensure that only respectable folk enter the city.”

At the mention of Renferell, Tyrus and Asmodeus shared a knowing glance. Gaimon wasn’t sure he liked the way the guard had said “respectable” because he couldn’t tell if the man was ridiculing the party or the mayor. Looking at the guards he imagined they’d put up a decent fight before going down, but he knew that killing the town guards wasn’t exactly what Asmodeus had in mind. So he merely bit his lip and wondered how long it would be before his fun would begin.

“This city is my home,” Asmodeus began, “I grew up here. So may our party enter?”

“You may have grown up here, but you don’t look familiar to me. I dare say you must not be a current resident,” the guard replied. He had a slightly patronizing tone. Tyrus supposed that the job of waiting around to explain asinine rules to travelers wasn’t the guard’s favorite pastime.

The guard to the right was a gruff looking Dwarf. His clothes, hair, and beard all seemed stained with dirt. In his hand was a pipe which he had apparently been smoking before the party rode up. “Jus’ pay the fee and ye can be on yer way!”

Asmodeus nodded. “Very well.” Following the wizard’s lead, the party paid their 5 gold coins each. The guards moved out of the way. “Welcome to Fallerun,” said the main guard as he waved the group toward the entrance.

‘Shandra let out a small sigh of relief after they had passed the old wall and had the guards behind them. Although she knew the guards wouldn’t have been a match in a fight, still she felt that discretion was called for. Tyrus had said that they should keep a low profile. At least Gaimon did not draw his weapon!

DM
You are now inside the town. Please deduct 5 gp from each of your characters.

Eryx mentioned that Asmodeus would probably try to visit his old teacher first. Do you want to do that now? Or perhaps visit the inn first? Would he visit alone or with the group?

Eryx
I think they would want to go to the inn first to get settled in. Asmodeus and Gaimon could go see the schoolteacher while Killashandra worked her feminine charms on the patrons there to get information out of them. While visiting the old school, he would inquire after his parents and then meet up with the rest of the group back at the inn.

Also, I’ve noticed that the DM’s updates don’t appear on the right side update log. Is there a way we can fix that?

Whipblade
Tyrus will simply head to a good inn, but he is being observant. What is the most notable feature in the town? Is it fairly open, or does it have lots of dark alleyways? Mostly they’re just being observant right now. Tyrus and Gaimon will play cards once they get settled in, and yeah, Shandra will start gathering information.

DM
Unfortunately Eryx, no, the updates aren’t something we can really mess with—we just have to hope the site eventually fixes that. For the meantime we must just keep checking every so often. The main thing to check is the current chapter, so it shouldn’t be too hard.

Fallerun is a small town and is fairly open. There is plenty of space between buildings, so there aren’t really alleys. Perhaps the most notable feature of the town is that it looks a bit run down.


As the party moved along the road, Tyrus tried to get a feel for the town. It was a smaller town, and quite open. The buildings were mostly made of simple stone and wood. Much of the town looked somewhat run down—the fences and some buildings looked quite weather-worn.

Asmodeus stopped in front of a building with a large blue dragon painted on the sign which read, “The Blue Drake”. “This is a good inn. It is also one of the more popular taverns, so we should be able to find out some good information here,” Asmodeus explained as he dismounted his horse.

The party dismounted and led their horses toward the stables. A young lady soon came out of the building and met the party. “Allow me to help you with your horses,” she offered. Together ‘Shandra and the young lady tended to the horses. Tyrus and Asmodeus headed into the inn while Gaimon removed gear from the saddlebags.

The entrance led directly into the tavern. Behind the bar stood a comely woman wearing an apron with a blue dragon embroidered into it. She quickly welcomed the men in and introduced herself as Alyson Thornton, the inkeeper. Soon the party had paid for two rooms and they were shown upstairs to the rooms.

After getting his gear stowed, Asmodeus left his companions at the inn and headed out to meet with his old school teacher, Mr. Latham. He was halfway there before realizing that it was still early afternoon and the teacher would still be holding class. So he changed destination, deciding to meet with his parents first instead.

Like the rest of the town, the old farm looked somewhat worse for wear. But the fields were looking ripe with a crop which would soon be harvested. The wizard spotted his father working the field. He stood and watched for a minute. His father wasn’t terribly old, but the years were starting to show their toll. His hair had finished turning grey since Asmodeus’ last visit.

Soon his father looked up and noticed him. After a brief pause he asked, “Asmodeus? Is that you?”

Asmodeus’ father embraced his son and invited him in the house to talk. “I’m sorry to give you bad news, but we might as well get it out of the way first. Your mother passed away during the spring of last year. She came down with a terrible fever and was in bed for days. The clerics did what they could…” He trailed off for a brief moment, then continued, “There are times in life where no amount of magic will change things. We all die eventually. I’m getting along alright, I suppose, but I sure miss her.”

DM
Eryx, what would Asmodeus want to talk to his father about?

Eryx
First, he would probably want to pay respects to his mother. And he would want to ascertain three things from his father, aside from regular “catch-up” things about the farm.


1. How does his father feel about Mayor Renferell.
2. How badly does his father want the Mayor gone? (i.e. would be be willing to be an ally of sorts if the group needed a local rabble-rouser)
3. What other people in the town, perhaps old friends, feel about the Mayor and how badly they want him gone.


“How are things here on the farm for you now, Father?” Asmodeus asked.

“Well, Raphael has been helping me along. He comes by almost every day to lend me a hand. That’s why the crop is looking as good as it is.”

The wizard mused briefly about his elder brother. Raphael was nearly a polar opposite from Asmodeus. Where the younger brother shunned manual labor, the elder brother enjoyed it immensely. Where Asmodeus desired to learn from books and teachers, Raphael learned from the land. That’s not to say he wasn’t intelligent—they shared that attribute in full measure. Asmodeus even wondered if his brother might have some latent magical ability.

Asmodeus continued talking with his father for a while, catching up and discussing the state of affairs in the town. “Father, how do you feel about Mayor Renferell?”

“Hmm,” he replied while obviously trying to phrase his next sentence, “He’s a nice enough fellow in person, I suppose. He really does try to do what’s best for the town, but I’m afraid he’s really not cut out to lead. Aside from his stammering speech, he comes up with the strangest notions.”

“So you don’t like him—as a mayor, that is.”

“No.”

“What about the rest of the town?” Asmodeus was eager to learn if the town would turn against the noble, but he tried to remember to be careful in what he asked.

“I don’t think anyone is a real fan of his policies. Truth be told, they often turn to hurt the town more than help it. That McArthur boy, remember him? Henry, I think. He and his friends have been quite vocal in opposition to the mayor. At least until the guards are called in. I think Henry was even arrested once. Spent a few days locked up in that old fort.”

“Don’t you think things would be better if he were gone?”

The wizard’s father sighed and leaned back in his chair. “I suppose so. But then some other noble of Validras would be sent here to govern. Who’s to say things would be better then? Sometimes I wish for the old days when we were independent. On the other hand, trade has never been better since becoming part of the kingdom.”

Asmodeus was about to suggest that Fallerun would be better without interference from Validras, but the look on his father’s face told him to bite his tongue. Although his father would certainly not be against getting rid of the bumbling mayor, he wouldn’t be an active ally—at least not yet. Perhaps it’s better to leave Father out of this anyway. But Mr. McArthur may be of some use.

They talked for a few more minutes before Asmodeus took leave to visit his mother’s grave. The cemetery was quiet and isolated. The clouds in the overcast skies were turning dark and the wind began to blow. He paused for some time at the grave site, but eventually moved on.

The next stop was the old schoolhouse to visit Christopher Latham. The students had left. Latham was sitting at his desk, reading and preparing his lessons as was his custom. His glasses perched on the end of his nose as he studied. The brow of his thin face was furrowed in concentration and his long fingers tapped on the desk absentmindedly.

The teacher hadn’t noticed Asmodeus’ entry. “Greetings, Mr. Latham. Your old pupil has returned again.”

“And still interrupting my lesson planning, I see!” Latham joked. The two then chatted for over an hour. The schoolmaster informed Asmodeus of various developments in the town. He was very critical of Renferell’s policies, describing the ways in which they were bringing the town to ruin. He explained that too much money was being spent to pay the guards and soldiers. The mayor was failing to bring the community together to pay for lumber imports for repairs to buildings.

Rain began to fall outside. It created a soothing sound as it hit the roof of the school. Latham continued his explanation of Renferell’s actions. “But perhaps his biggest failing is that he rarely comes into town. He has no idea what’s really going on here! He just sits in that old fort make-believing he’s as great a noble as his uncle, no doubt. I’m not sure if he’s ashamed to be seen in town or if he fancies himself too good for us.”

“Why doesn’t the town rise up against him?” Asmodeus leaned forward in his chair. “Things would certainly improve if he were gone, don’t you think?”

The teacher sighed. “Unfortunately, I doubt it. The people of this town are too passive and docile. But even if they did rise up and throw out the mayor, then what? This would certainly incur the wrath of the Validras nobles. Then they’d send in a bigger garrison to keep us under control. The Kingdom is still expanding under King Heron’s rule—he’s not about to give up any territory, regardless of how insignificant.”

“And since no one here can or will challenge Renferell, he’ll continue to mismanage the town,” Asmodeus stated flatly.

“So it seems.”

DM
The general feeling you’ve gotten from talking with Asmodeus’ father and Latham is that things are stuck. The people do not want the trouble of kicking out the mayor, and especially do not want to bring the wrath of Validras down on them.

Are there any other specific things you want to ask Latham? Thus far he has been very open and frank with you. Or is there anything else you want to do before returning to your companions at the inn?

Eryx
I would just want to ask a bit more about Henry MacArthur, mention that my father had seen him get in trouble. Would specifically want to know what he said that got him locked up and how the guards handled the situation. After that, time to head back to the inn, hopefully to get there before the evening rush ends so he could talk to folks there.


“Tell me about Henry McArthur. My father said he got into some trouble and was imprisoned. What did he do to get locked up?”

“Ah, yes. Young Mr. McArthur.” Latham sighed and shook his head. “If you remember, he’s always been somewhat of a troublemaker. Oh, but he’s a few years younger than you, so maybe you didn’t know him well. In any case, he’s always been a little devil but he’s gotten a little more civilized over the years. He’s kept a sharp tongue though.

“Henry has always been pretty vocal about his dislike of Mayor Renferell. But it got especially bad about a year and a half ago when Mayor Renferell instituted a new tax on ore. Mr. McArthur is a miner, you see, and he got very upset. He started getting some of the townsfolk riled up.

“It all came to a head when Renferell came to do another of his town hall meetings. As I said, he doesn’t come into town very often, but when he does he goes straight to the town hall and gives a speech. This is often when he announces new policies.”

“How very official of him,” Asmodeus remarked mockingly.

“Yes. Well, Renferell came for one of his meetings and Henry was there in the audience with some of his supporters. As soon as the mayor stood up to speak, Henry stood up and started shouting at him. He accused the mayor of stealing from the town and decried the various policies. His supporters gave enthusiastic shouts of agreement.

“Renferell was stunned. I believe this may have been the first time he had been openly attacked. But he regained his senses and called for his soldiers to arrest McArthur. Henry resisted a little, but gave in when it became obvious that his supporters weren’t willing to fight. The soldiers charged him with various things including conspiracy, and inciting a riot.

“McArthur then spent a month in prison over at that old fort. Since then he’s been much more careful, but I think he lacks the capacity to control his tongue. He has nothing good to say about Renferell, that’s for sure, but he stays clear of the mayor now.”

Asmodeus considered the tale. “I’m sure this set a precedent for the town, discouraging anyone from speaking out about Renferell’s policies.”

“Indeed.”

The conversation between wizard and teacher continued for a while longer. Eventually Asmodeus noticed that it was growing late, and due to the storm it was already dark out. He wanted to return to the tavern before too late so he’d have a chance to meet with people there. With luck Elandra will be in town, and if so I’m sure she’ll visit the Blue Drake. I hope that Gaimon hasn’t gotten himself into any trouble while I’ve been gone. So he bid farewell to Mr. Latham then threw his cloak around him, pulled the hood over his head, and stepped out into the rain.

* * *

Meanwhile, Tyrus sat in the tavern playing cards with Gaimon. ‘Shandra had disappeared somewhere; most likely fulfilling the promise of apples to the horses. The tavern was mostly empty. Two merchants sat at one table discussing their plans to buy crops and ore then sell them in other cities. A dirt stained man sat near the bar and was nursing his ale. Tyrus suspected that he was a local farmer. A guard came in for a quick lunch, then left.

After losing three games in a row to the Elf, Tyrus got up and spoke to the innkeeper. She told him a little about the city, and the blackguard took special interest in hearing about the local blacksmiths, Malek and Drinn. Malek was a renoun Elven blacksmith and leatherworker. Over the long years, he had taught many students and his weapons were well known thoughout Azim. The Dwarf Drinn Stoutshield was nearly as famous. His family were excellent smiths, and at a young age the dwarf became very skilled in the working of rare metals.

Apparently the two blacksmiths had decided to work together. The innkeeper surmised that the two had come to Fallerun because of the good ore that could be found in the nearby mountains. Merchants often came to Fallerun to buy dark iron, adamantine, and more to sell to other places. Certainly these two smiths could forge an excellent sword to replace Glacius, Tyrus thought.

The woman also expressed some frustration when the blackguard brought up the subject of Mayor Renferell. “The stupid entrance fees are hurting my business!” she exclaimed. “I know he means well. They say he’s trying to help the city. But when travelers are unexpectedly forced to pay five gold just to enter the city, do you think that loosens their purse strings for buying food and drink? No! The merchants are angry at having been fined and then they just want to buy enough food to get along, no matter how well their trading goes. Unless they stay for a few days, it’s hard to sell any of my better wines.”

DM
You learn that the tavern will get busier in the late afternoon and evening once the day’s work is done. Since this is one of the more popular locales, you expect that there will be plenty of people to get information from.

Is there anything else you want to do before evening? Or do you just want to continue gathering info at the inn?

Whipblade
Tyrus is surprised to hear of two excellent smiths in such a run-down town. I want to visit these two blacksmiths. He’ll grab Shandra, to see if she wants to come. He’ll head out in full armor. If anyone asks his name, he won’t lie unless absolutely necessary. He doesn’t feel the need to skulk in shadows.

While Tyrus is specifically looking for a Bastard Sword, if there are other weapons of high quality available, he will take note of them. He’ll only take his horse if it’s a significant distance away. He also takes note of the time of day, the weather, and wonders when Asmodeus will return.

After talking to Alyson, Tyrus decided to go meet these weapon smiths. Asmodeus had said he’d be gone for a while, so he called out to Gaimon, “I’ll be back.” Then he went out to the stables to find ‘Shandra.

As expected, his beauty was there in the stables feeding apples to Fallacy and the other horses. He asked her to come, and they headed down the road. The innkeeper had said that the smiths worked on the Northwest edge of town, so Tyrus followed a wide road that led in roughly that direction.

Still wearing his black full-plate armor, the blackguard was an intimidating sight. Walking with his old regal demeanor, he kept his chin up and looked ahead on the road. Although still wearing her leather armor, Killashandra beside him looked every bit the companion for a lord. The few villagers the two passed looked on with timid curiosity.

‘Shandra and Tyrus talked as they walked down the road. ‘Shandra had helped the innkeeper’s daughter, Elizabeth, take care of the horses. Then she had bought some apples. She reported that the town seemed peaceful and quiet.

“Malek? Do don’t mean the Malek, do you?” ‘Shandra asked when she learned of their destination. She was taken aback to think that the famous weapon maker would be found in this little town.

“Apparently, yes.”

Passing a small chapel, Tyrus tensed up slightly on catching view of a trio wearing the colors of the Knights Justicar. There was an armored Dwarf talking with two young Human boys wearing acolyte robes. The Dwarf seemed to catch sight of the blackguard, but did not react. If he knew who I was, he’d no doubt feel honor bound to confront me. Or perhaps he doesn’t want to risk a fight one-on-two, especially with those boys around.

They passed the chapel without incident. Soon thereafter they found the place they were looking for. The sound of a hammer striking metal against an anvil could be heard from the road. A small sign read, “Malek & Drinn”. They entered the front door.

The front room of the building was set up as a small shop. A short wooden counter divided the room and blocked the way from the door to the rooms in back. Unlike many smith shops that Tyrus had been in, this one was noticeably devoid of weapons on display. Yet the three weapons on display were extremely ornate. Tyrus saw a longsword, a scimitar, and a pair of daggers. The only other item of note was a small bell on the counter.

‘Shandra rang the bell. She wasn’t sure that it would be heard over the clanging of metal, but an Elf with long jet black hair quickly emerged from one of the back rooms.

“Drinn! Quiet! We have visitors!” he shouted out a back door before turning to Tyrus and ‘Shandra. “I am Malek. How can I help you?”

“Greetings. I am Tyrus and this is my wife, ‘Shandra. I heard that the famed smiths Malek and Drinn could be found here. I admit I was surprised to find such skill in such a small town.”

“Yes, I never expected to meet you in person. And certainly not here,” ‘Shandra added.

“I appreciate the kind words, friends,” Malek replied with very calm tones. The sounds of the anvil had gone silent. “Fallerun is actually a very good place for us. It is peaceful to be away from the bustle of big cities. And in the nearby mountains there is ore of good quality and variety. The quantity is low though, which keeps the town from exploding with miners. And it matters not where we do our work.”

As they conversed, Tyrus learned that the two smiths did mostly custom orders. The few weapons they had on hand for sale were ones they had created to experiment on and hone their skills. The custom orders keep them busy most of the year, and merchants come and go to sell their wares.

When asked about Mayor Renferell, a sudden outburst of cursing was heard from behind the back door. “I don’t have much of an opinion on the mayor,” Malek answered calmly over the cursing. “He tries his best at his job, I’m sure. Governance is not an interest of mine.”

The back door swung open and Drinn stepped in. His fiery red beard was singed all over. His face and hands were black with soot. “That moron doesn’t understand the first thing about being mayor!” More cursing followed. “His rules are so bad that I suspect he is intentionally trying to ruin our business!” He said all this as he passed by and entered one of the other rooms.

DM
What next? They don’t have a bastard sword on-hand, but you’re sure they could forge one if asked. And you would be able to specify the blade in any detail. It doesn’t look like you’ve got the money to finance one at the moment though.

Whipblade
I’ll tell them what I want: A Bastard sword, master-crafted so that I might eventually get it enchanted elsewhere – likely in Aelhaim or another location of magical repute. I’ll ask if they if they recommend any enchanters in particular, and what their price might be. Once I hear it, I’ll indicate that it’s currently beyond my budget, but odds are good that I’ll be back around this way sometime.

After that, Shandra will lightly ask about the threat that Renferell poses to their business venture, while eyeing the exquisite daggers, and remarking on their excellent quality. She’ll also gently probe about the Knights Justicar and their presence in Fallerun.

Once that’s done, they will politely make their departure and head back to the Blue Drake.

(Note) The more I think about it, the more I think the apostrophe on Shandra’s short name doesn’t make sense – (Like writing ‘Beth for someone named Elizabeth, besides the fact that going for that apostrophe every time is kinda annoying =) it’s just a shortened version, so I am just going to be using Shandra for now.

Question: I just noticed that Fallerun is on the same river as Lysidia. (Or at least near it.) Is there any kind of shipping/travel that takes place between the two, or is Fallerun a bit too far out from the river?

Eryx
You don’t have enough money for a masterwork bastard sword? Am I missing something, because I can’t find any swords in the PHB or DMG at prices you can’t afford pre-enchantment? I can spot you the couple hundred gold if you’re actually that low on money.

Whipblade
I actually just sort of winged it with money instead of whipping out the actual funds. I may need to go back and calculate everything out exactly if that’s the case. I just didn’t want to get too greedy starting out… but now that you put it that way… gimme a day and I’ll crunch some numbers.

DM
Yeah, the money I gave you to start should have represented the wealth/items a character of level 6 would have (for each character!). I don’t want your characters to be underpowered for their level. I took the liberty of assessing your characters’ gear, and I came up with 12,500 gp (not counting the Planar Ring of Fire which would be way more expensive than you could afford!). If you rolled the minimum of 2 on both your d6 rolls, then you’d have 24,000 gp (for both characters combined), minus your stuff = 11,500 gp remaining. So more if you rolled higher than 2 on those rolls.

If you want to have less due to your backstory, that’s certainly your prerogative. But you could always say that some of the money came w/ Shandra or from Shok’ragal.

As for the river, yes there is some trade that goes up and down the river to Lysidia. Fallerun is pretty close to the river, and actually Renferell’s fort is on the other side to the North. But there’s not a ton of trade because Fallerun is such a small town.


“I didn’t realize that it was so bad,” Shandra remarked. “What will you do?”

Malek sighed. “Drinn… exaggerates somewhat. It’s true though that the taxes are much higher than one would expect.”

From the other room Drinn called out, “And he taxes the merchants which bring us our supplies!”

“That too,” said Malek. “One of our suppliers got so frustrated that he vowed never to return to Fallerun. Which is really too bad, because it is very difficult to find someone who can supply winter wolf hides.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Tyrus remarked. He then changed the subject asking, “What is the cost to place a custom order? I am looking for a bastard sword of excellent quality.”

“Ah, the hand-and-a-half sword. Well, the base price would be twenty-eight hundred gold. The price goes up from there depending on the battle quality of the weapon and if you desire any extra-special materials—unless you provide them yourself, of course. You can specify the design, if you like, or we can come up with something ourselves.”

“Two weeks!” Drinn added, returning to the room. “It will take at least two weeks to create your weapon. More if it is complex or if we’ve got a lot of orders. Of course, right now we could fit it in easily. Oh, and all coin must be paid up-front!”

While Tyrus considered what he wanted in a blade and how much that would cost him, Shandra remarked on the high quality of the smiths’ work. “I especially admire those daggers. They are exquisite!”

“Thank you,” the Elf replied. “I’m not sure when we’ll ever sell them. They were not an order. As I mentioned, these few weapons are ones we created just to hone our skills. And they are expensive—”

“Forty-thousand for the pair!” Drinn interrupted.

“Yes. Their quality in battle would be quite high. Perhaps a rich adventurer or a noble will take a fancy to them.”

“You don’t enchant magical abilities on these weapons, do you?” Tyrus asked. “Do you recommend anyone for that?”

The Dwarf shook his head and responded “No, we do not do enchantments. I’ve heard that the magi in Aelhaim sometimes will enchant weapons to fund their university. I’m sure you could find someone in Lysidia or Glasslake City to do that. Or if you’re a traveler, you could head to Kel.”

Making sure to speak casually, Shandra asked, “Do the Knights Justicar make many orders? I haven’t seen many here in Fallerun… do they have much of a presence here?”

“We do get orders from the Knights Justicar from time to time,” Malek answered. “Sometimes by individual knights, or sometimes a large order from a Chapter. But more often than not it is wealthy barons and lords which place orders. As for Fallerun, no I don’t believe the Knights have much of a presence here. They can be found everywhere, of course, but they don’t own any buildings here or anything as far as I know.”

DM
The daggers are both +3 weapons. Based on their description and pricing, you realize that these two don’t ever do “just” masterwork weapons. It would be below them, and probably insulting to ask for. I’ll go ahead and pause here to give you a chance to figure out your money situation. If you take the minimum amount of money I listed above, you should have enough to order a +2 bastard sword from these guys.

Whipblade
Okay, after figuring things, I am left with actually 20,500 gold (Tyrus rolled 3 and 4, while Shandra got double 3’s = + 13,000 gold) So. I am figuring they actually just received a rather large dowry for their wedding. =)

Tyrus is going to go ahead and place an order for a +2 Bastard Sword (written below)(DMG cost: 8335 gold – not sure what Drinn and Malek’s markup is – I am guessing it’s something though, considering their reputation.) Just let me know.

Drinn watched as the large warrior excused himself to the front of the shop to speak with his wife for a moment. He made a special note to keep an eye on him. Others had attempted to rob them before, and had to be taught a lesson.

Shandra listened inquisitively to her lord as he leaned close to her, speaking in conspiratorial tones.

“I think I’m going to go ahead and place an order.”

Shandra’s eyebrow arched questioningly. “I don’t know if we have enough money for that.”

Tyrus was somewhat taken aback. “What? We have plenty.”

“Oh?...” Shandra reacted with mock surprise. “Oh… You are talking about my dowry. Well, that’s different. That’s mine.”

Tyrus brought his hand up to his chin, considering how he might outmaneuver her petty wiles. “We’re in this together.” He stated, hoping their commitment to each other might give him some kind of edge.

“Right, but a sword is just for you.” Shandra countered.

Tyrus disregarded subtlety. “But I need it.”

Shandra laughed lightly. “I don’t think you really ‘need’ it… it seems to me that you have a sword that’s plenty good right there.” she stated, pointing to the used, pock-marked blade that hung at his side.

Tyrus looked at it in revulsion. “I took it from a guard in Lysidia… It… it’s barely usable.”

“That’s not what those three headhunters in Fairfield thought.” she said, speaking in silky tones.

Tyrus blustered quietly, “Those were just mercenaries, after my bounty. And I recall YOU got one of them.”

A devilish grin lit up her face. “Yes, yes I did.”

Tyrus wrapped his arms around his wife’s tiny waist. “Come on. You know I need a new blade.” He could see that she was toying with him as he watched her eyes roll in playful recollection.

“I recall that when I wanted that emerald pendant from Damar’s, you said I didn’t need it.” She teased, unwilling to submit just yet.

“This is different.” He moved his face close toward hers, attempting to kiss her. Balking at his attempt, she drew her face away just enough to keep out of range.

“You could always use Glacius.” she giggled.

“Right.” Tyrus agreed, with heavy sarcasm.

Shandra just giggled quietly again, placing her arms around his neck. “You know I’m just teasing you. It’s fine.”

Tyrus’ eyes gleamed. He looked deep into her green eyes. “I love you.” He then drew her into a brief, but meaningful kiss.

“I know.” She said affectionately, before continuing in a mock-hurtful tone, “But seriously. I really did want that necklace.”

Tyrus kissed her quickly once more. “We’ll make sure to get you a nice one.”

Shandra beamed as Tyrus withdrew and went to place his order.

DM
Very nice. You are correct, their cost is somewhat higher: 10,000 gp. I’m going to go ahead and move on to chapter two, but go ahead and decide whether you want to specify the design yourself or let them design it for you. As Drinn said before, it will be two weeks before it is ready.

Whipblade
Yes, that’s fine. Tyrus will go ahead and make the order. Money has been adjusted accordingly to 10,500 gold on hand. He’ll also spend a little time elaborating on exactly what he wants. I am guessing that because they are renowned smiths, they’ll each include their seals on the blade.

After placing his order with the weapon makers, Tyrus and Shandra headed back to the Blue Drake. Taking a new road as to avoid the chapel, they hurried on as the skies were turning dark with looming rain.

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