In which testimony is coordinated and questionable bargains are struck.
On the evening of November 24th, Elial received a cryptic note stating that “the Guildmaster wants to see you. Come to the back entrance.” After puzzling over the message with Itrid, they came to the conclusion that it was a message from Harald Helmcleaver, who wanted them to travel through the sewers to avoid observation.
This turned out to be the correct interpretation. Harald had received a summons to testify at the upcoming trial of Garrish Kochilar and wanted to coordinate his testimony with that to be given by the Watch officers. He also wanted to be sure that the dwarves’ involvement in the entire sordid business was minimized, as that had been an understood condition for his weapon gifts to the officers.
The three discussed and came to conclusions regarding:
- how to present Bronn’s involvement in the case (suspected mercenary working for Kochilar to silence Kelera)
- how the ersatz “dead Bronn” corpse had turned up (Harald insisted it was just a fortuitous coincidence)
- how to present Harald’s gifts to the Watch, not as evidence of bribery or conspiracy but instead as gifts of appreciation for their cultural sensitivity (in approaching him as Bronn’s father) and kind offer to make every effort to take Bronn alive.
(It occurred to Elial that Bronn’s “escape” and subsequent “death” in the sewers could present a good argument in favor of increasing the manpower and funds allocated to the Watch.)
Their business concluded, the Watch officers and the dwarven patriarch parted ways, with Elial conspicuously disposing of the incriminating invitational note in Harald’s fireplace.
Returning through the sewers, the officers observed a giant crocodile drifting dangerously close to their path. Choosing discretion over valor, they made a hasty exit through the nearest convenient manhole, and made a note to return with a squad of constables and/or Big Stinky to assist in dispatching the dangerous beast.
The next day, with storm clouds brewing and warning of the first winter storms, while patrolling through The Shambles, Itrid noticed a storefront she had never seen before (and in fact, was fairly certain the shop entrance had not in fact existed previously), marked only with the sign of a silver crescent. Doing their civic duty as Watch officers, she and Elial entered the shop to make sure its business license was up to date.
Inside, through the dim grey light, they could make out shelves full of dusty objects of all sorts, all seemingly magical items. They were greeted by a heavily robed figure who identified himself only as the Shopkeeper (Itrid pressed for a name and was eventually rewarded with something sounding like “Silisithussisisisisssssssssss”, so “Shopkeeper” it was). He invited them to shop around for anything that might suit their fancy.
Itrid found a pair of enchanted gloves whose label claimed they could increase the wearer’s dexterity and an necklace that promised to protect against all manner of toxic vapors and even provide the ability to breathe underwater. Thinking this necklace might prove useful in bypassing the gases they had encountered in the sewer depths, she inquired about purchasing these items, but was told that her gold had no value here – instead, the Shopkeeper, something of a collector of esoterica, preferred memories, thoughts, and feelings as payment. After some bargaining, she eventually agreed to trade all of her conflicted feelings about the dwarves (fear, suspicion, anger, uncertainty, etc.) for the two items, and the Shopkeeper accepted. He clasped her hand – his own hand was taloned and covered in green scales – and after a moment of dizziness, she found she indeed no longer had any particular emotional feelings about dwarves as a group. Curious indeed!
Itrid belatedly inquired as to the business license of the shop, and although the Shopkeeper at first seemed uncertain as to what she was asking for, a moment later she noticed a perfectly valid and suitable business license on the wall, issued several years ago.
Meanwhile, Elial had found two different types of enchanted crossbow bolts, an amulet improving the wearer’s health, and a dog collar that promised to double the size of the animal wearing it. For this collection of items, Elial knew he would have to offer something valuable indeed, and so he offered his religious faith in Natch Ur. Imprecise phrasing nearly allowed the Shopkeeper to take all of Elial’s faith in everything, but Elial caught the trap before it was sprung and firmly clarified the terms. The bargain concluded, Elial and the Shopkeeper clasped hands, and Elial found that the scales had fallen from his eyes – the gods were indeed unworthy of his worship and had nothing to offer the mortal world. How blind he had been!
Their shopping concluded, Elial and Itrid left the shop of the silver crescent. As the door swung shut behind them, they turned to find that the storefront no longer existed – if indeed it ever had. Their memories fuzzed as well – while they still remembered entering the storefront, they could no longer remember exactly what had transpired. Elial remembered having a deeply enlightening religious discussion and receiving these new gifts as a congratulations from the wise man he had spoken with. Itrid remembered a long conversation with a kindly dwarf who had similarly offered her gifts. And both had an odd feeling of loss…