Xanthos, my companion in arms, you know, of course, that I am seeking to expand my resources for the brewing of mead, and this includes in particular the acquisition of properties in various places in which to store the barrels of fermenting brew. I have thus already acquired such a space in the strange pocket dimension around the Vaults of Vyzor, having set up both barrels and bee hives in the new gnomish quarter there; otherwise, I have also been seeking some property in the desert city of Vymrrys, down the Dreaming River and in another world--it seems a prudent place in which to brew a dry mead, perhaps to be labeled the Desert Visionary Brew ...
To this end, I sought one called Corvus Isn, a local freelancer in Vymrrys known for doing the dirty work for nobles unwilling to sully their own hands with whatever deed needed doing. He was said to have come into possession of some property that has changed hands several times recently, all under mysterious circumstances, and I imagined that this creature might have some further property for sale, or perhaps at least advice in the acquisition of such.
In my rumormongering, I had heard that Corvus Isn's last known location was in some neighborhood of the delightful moniker of 'Drunkard's Bottom'; and also, from one Ayatollah Goblini (a most peculiar goblinage who takes advantage of his fellows' servile nature in the pontificating of some strange cult of shortness), another frequenter of the Myopic Myconid tavern, I heard that Corvus had been delayed from some sort of meeting in the Dreaming Bazaar.
|Jesse Goldshear's drawing, I believe|
Therefore, I well intended to set out for Drunkard's Bottom to seek this Corvus Isn, and even as I made my preparations, I did behold Magic Meryl in her new halfling shape, accompanied by her semi-apprentice, Pitwin Spryneedle, a gnome child orphaned by the Red Hand Orcs in the Vaults of Vyzor. These two I had previously accompanied on a quest to discover the nature of the bacchanals of the Otter-Folk in Vymrrys. I hailed the twain, and after I briefly sketched my adventuring intent, the magic pair agreed to accompany me to Drunkard's Bottom. Considering the potentially dangerous nature of a neighborhood of such an eponym, Magic Meryl and Pitwin disguised themselves in local robes, and Pitwin added a special touch for himself with a spray-on-beard.
We headed east, setting sun at our backs, and before long sought further information as to the whereabouts of the neighborhood, our goal, from a street performer. This woman, wrapped from head to toe in skin-tight blue robes, was a contortionist of exceeding skill, earning her coin by seeming to wrap her limbs and herself into knots for an applauding crowd. When the other passersby had passed, we approached her, I with two coin in my hand ready to buy information; but Pitwin rushed ahead, clapping uproariously and exclaiming how amazing were her feats of flexibility.
This performer then revealed to us her moniker--Sarah the Astonishing--and when we asked for directions to Drunkard's Bottom, she suddenly seemed worried, glancing especially at Pitwin. 'It can be a dangerous place,' she said. 'Are you sure you want to go there?'
'You don't have to worry about us!' Pitwin replied, puffing up his chest. 'We're tough!' This gnomish child, luscious beard bristling out from beneath bright eyes, was excruciatingly adorable in that moment. I was myself, of course, completely immune to his charms, but Sarah the Astonishing visibly melted before his shining eyes.
'Is this your child?' Sarah asked, and while I rolled my eyes in disdain for this display of cuteness, Meryl piped up, 'Yes, he is!'
I must admit, however, that Pitwin did win Sarah over such that she offered to guide us to Drunkard's Bottom, for which service we gladly retained her. As night crept ever onward, we arrived in the neighborhood, and I asked that Sarah direct us to a good watering hole for rumormongering; to which she answered with the name of the Bell and Beetle, a place with both drink and entertainment. 'Is it age appropriate?' Meryl asked, worried for her ward; to which Pitwin piped up, 'I've seen things! I've gotten drunk, too!' Therefore, to the Bell and Beetle we went.
Within, we found the kind of cantina that seems ubiquitous in any hive of scum and villainy, filled with drunks of cosmopolitan types. 'I'm an adult!' Pitwin declared to the one-eyed, tattooed bouncer as we entered, to which he shrugged and answered, 'Sure, kid.' At the bar I and Meryl inquired as to the whereabouts of Corvus Isn, and a drunk sloppily informed us that Corvus had been seen at a pawn shop not far away. The barkeep further explained how to get to this 'Three Lanterns Pawnshop' after our local informant passed out from inebriation.
All at once, we noticed that Pitwin had vanished in the crowd (an easy feat for a gnome child barely knee-high), and though, of course, I was immune to his sickeningly adorable charms, I was nigh ready to draw steel and accost the barkeep for his disappearance when suddenly he reappeared, smiling, new gold in hand. 'I won a bet on some fighting grubs!' he declared, and regaled us in childlike detail as to what he had seen in the back of the bar, of a kind of pit where people set stinging desert caterpillars against each other; he had betted on what seemed at first to be the loser, but which ultimately came out on top.
As Magic Meryl scolded Pitwin for his irresponsible use of money, we all made our way out onto the street; and for an additional fee of 15 gold, Sarah agreed to accompany us for the night as a kind of thief-acrobat.
Up the street and down a couple blocks, following the barkeep's directions, we came upon the pawnshop marked by three lanterns out front (only one being lit at the moment). At the door, we found it not locked, but stuck, and when I knocked, we heard movement within, but got no answer. Pitwin stepped up to the door and cast ESP, and reported to us after some dire concentration that there two individuals inside worried about what they were going to do with a dead body and what 'the Patriarch' was going to do to them when he learned it hadn't been handled right.
Unable to enter through that door, we went around to an alley to look for a back entrance, and there we were jumped by a figure in black leather armor and purple robes--an Elf of the House of the Purple Sun! I drew my sword, and while the others flailed ineffectually, I hacked the wretch's arm off--though Meryl got the killing blow.
A backdoor into the pawnshop was duly discovered; opening it, we found a pair of Elves standing over a charred body, arguing, and Pitwin cast a spell of charm person on the nearer. As the fellow turned to him with the smile of a friend, Pitwin declared, 'We're here to help with the body!' After some confused argument between the two (Billy and Ted, Billy being our Elf), they ultimately accepted the story that Otter-Folk had killed their watchman outside, and that we were indeed there to help dispose of the body. Pitwin sent Ted outside to watch while Billy helped stuff the charred body into a corpse. In the course of this, we managed to investigate the body, and found that it seemed indeed to be the body of Corvus Isn, with a cryptic note: 'Property bought; bad feeling about it; do as you wish; ~Corvus Isn.'
According to Billy the Elf, he and his companions had hired a necromancer, one Orchard Ringfinger (sp?) to dispose of the body; he had said he would summon spirits that would devour the corpse in fire to leave only ash, but obviously what remained was a corpse, badly burned, perhaps, but not devoured entire.
While we ourselves helped 'dispose' of the body, Billy the Elf insisted on robbing the place while the chance remained. He discovered some loose floorboards by the customer counter, but as he ripped them open and hauled out the safe, a blue smoke overcame him and his flesh began to melt off his bones. At his screams, his associate, Ted, returned--seeing his comrade so distressed, he insisted on attacking us, and we cut his throat in response.
|Billy the Elf melting, except imagine it with a cloud of blue gas|
Magic Meryl and Pitwin thence suggested taking the body of Corvus back to Vyzor to be reincarnated by Pete Loudly, if possible, or at least to get a speak with dead spell cast over the body, a thing I well agreed with, and we quickly took up the chest containing the charred body and returned to the Myopic Myconid posthaste.
As for the pawnshop, I have since heard that it was robbed that self-same night, the safe completely disappearing, along with the books, and several valuable trinkets removed from the shelves. Clearly, dastardly thieves took advantage of the night's chaos to enrich their own pockets! And I have heard that they left behind a spray-painted tag that 'Dougal Lives'--the nerve of some criminals.
Well, Xanthos, such is the extent of my attempt to acquire property within Vymrrys--an attempt ending with an even greater mystery, and no clear possibility of easy property. Such is the life of adventure.
My efforts will, of course continue. I hope before long to earning gold hand over fist with these brews--you must try them, my friend!
Your companion-in-arms under the Black Dragon,