Sunday 11 January 2015

Dungeon Crawl - Part 1

The town of Sellport sat nestled on the coast in the south of Orland. A thriving port it brought in spices, rare stones, silks and other materials from all over Atla. It shipped out the precious ore that Orland took it's name from and enjoyed its status as one of the largest port cities in the land. Sellport had a dark underbelly though; it was the main route for smuggling contraband into the country. A hive of smugglers, dopers, slavers and other less than reputable traders, it attracted the worst of the worst from all over Orland. Strolling down Prince's Street or walking up Emperor's Way you would think it was a town doing well off of its trade. The large sprawling houses and the well tended gardens gave an air of opulence and luxury to the more well to do areas of the city, but it was the slums where the real action was. The majority of the poorer residents of the city were given gainful employment by men and women that liked to live on the wrong side of the law. Whore houses, drug dens, gambling clubs and inns of ill repute were the big earners in the slums as the people who lived there desperately tried to forget  their miserable lives, willing away the hours getting head, getting off their head, or losing their heads dependant on their luck. 

One of these slums was called Minstrel's Alley.  The Pot Bellied Orc was the liveliest of the inns in this part of town especially around late evening. Reven sat alone by the window nursing his ale as he looked out onto the street to view the wide birth that Fang was commanding from passers-by. In the last few years they had visited many towns and cities and Reven had learnt long ago that if he tethered Fang to a post as most did their horses people were more accepting of the beast in their midst. The fact that fang was now as tall as a carthorse and almost twice as wide meant that people treated him with reverence and kept their distance. A few of the smaller villages they had visited had asked that Reven and his companion leave, not believing that the war hound could be trusted not to kill and eat the villagers. He was an awe inspiring sight and he had got Reven out of trouble more times than he could count since they had been ejected from The Order of the Black Veil. Reven wasn't a fan of cities. He spent much of his time in them away from his friend as due to Fang's size he struggled to fit though most doors unless they belonged to a barn or stable. But unfortunately cities is where the money was and Reven and Fang were running short on funds. 

Money was in fact the reason for Reven's visit to Sellport. He and some sellswords had escorted a merchants caravan from Ux, south across the plains and to the docks of the city where the merchants offloaded their wares to the waiting ships. It was one of the sellswords, a dwarf by the name of Borengar Steelskin, that had set up this meeting in the Pot Bellied Orc with Reven's next prospective employer. Borengar was running late and Reven had been sipping the same pint for the past half hour, shooing away the serving girl whenever she would approach. Experience had taught him that having a clear head when negotiating fees for his services was always prudent. As Reven returned to looking at Fang through the window he spotted the squat form of Borengar marching down the street toward the inn. He was accompanied by a tall man in bright orange robes which looked almost like they were on fire in the torchlight of the street. He sported a long black beard that almost rivalled the dwarves in length and carried a black staff that was topped with a large crimson gem. Reven straightened his jerkin and waited for the unlikely duo to enter the inn.

Borengar wasted no time in ordering in a round of ales. Shouting to the serving girl even before he and his companion had taken their seats with Reven. Borengar greeted Reven with a nod, 'This young Reven is Arnold Krassner' the dwarf said inclining his head toward the man.  'He has a very interesting proposition that he would like to talk to us about' he continued. 'This Mr Krassner is Reven and the beast you shied away from outside is his Fang' Borengar's deep voice was so captivating that some of the other patrons had turned to see who owned it and Arnold Krassner took this as his cue to speak in considerably quieter tones than the dwarf. 'I have heard tales of your exploits Reven. Borengar has been most forthcoming about you abilities when it comes to matters of the sword.' The serving girl slapped down three pints of ale interrupting Krassner who shooed her away without even sparing her a glance. Reven wasn't sure if he liked the man yet but continued listening as he spoke; one man's money was as good as anothers after all. 'There is a particular item that I would like you and Borengar to obtain for me. Unfortunately it's currently in the possession of an associate of mine who seems to be unwilling to part with it for any sum of money. It is my desire for this object that leads me to this establishment and to this meeting with fellows as fine as yourselves.' There was a sneer on Krassner's lips as he spoke of the establishment. Reven could tell he was an educated man and one who had likely never stepped foot in a place like the Pot Bellied Orc. His disdain for the place was clearly visable on his bearded face. Borengar drained the last of his ale and burped loudly before addressing Krassner, 'So you want us to alleviate your associate of this item and return it to you. What is it? A gem, an artifact of power?'. 'Nothing so exciting I'm afraid. The item I wish you to procure is a simple book. A tome that is valuable to me beyond any amount of money. I care not how you get it or what state you leave my associate in once you have located it. I just want that book.' His eyes flickered between Reven and Borengar before he spoke again. 'For your services I will pay you a thousand gold pieces.' Borengar raised an eyebrow and nudged Reven's arm at this news but Krassner hadn't finished, 'Each.' Before Reven could speak Borengar had leapt out of his seat screaming 'Done!' He fixed Reven with a stare, greed visible in his eyes. Reven rolled his eyes and settled down to listen as Krassner filled them in on exactly what he wanted them to do.

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