Elizabeth has been busy with work, so there hasn’t been a Witchcraft Wednesday published from Marcenda’s view point, but if you missed her last installment, you can find it here. If this is your first time reading any of our adventures, then I suggest you start by reading Ziggy’s backstory, or if that’s too much effort, then start with Get Jiggy with Ziggy: I.
When we left off, Ziggy and the rest of his group had just left the tavern, with Knucklebones McTarly staying behind at the Sleeping Sailor, likely nurturing his budding alcoholism. Marcenda had decided to seek out Brother Patracles to talk to him about the lore of the area, Koruk returned to the inn that he was staying at to gather some gear before meeting with Eamon later that evening, and Ziggy had plans to stock up on supplies from the Splendid Sundries of the Sultanate, which is where we find him now:
Inside, Ziggy saw a hawkish, swarthy looking man with brown skin, who sneered at him from behind the counter.
“What do you need?” The man demanded curtly.
“My new friends and I have been tasked with assisting the Mayor with a small errand, and I was hoping to procure a few goods for the trip.”
“But what do you need?” The man repeated impatiently.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name. I’m Ziggy Quickfoot, and you are?”
“Growing tired of this trivial talk; what do you need?” He insisted.
His usual charms were getting him nowhere fast, Ziggy recognized that perhaps it was better to just buy what was necessary. “Do you have any medicinal potions?”
The man reached under the counter and pulled up a wooden holder with six vials each of which contained a deep red liquid.
“These will take care of any minor wounds that you and your party may have. They are twelve gold.”
“Well, that seems fair t–”
Ziggy openly balked at the price. “My good man, you know as well as I that such a price is ludicrous. Perhaps we can negotiate a better price.”
“Do you have have 72 gold?”
“I do, but–”
“Then there is nothing to negotiate; the price is the price. My caravan is over a week late, so I cannot afford to sell these for less. It is simple supply and demand.”
Ziggy stared at the man for a moment before trying a different tactic. “What about an exchange? I’ll do some work or errands for you and you bring the prices down to something within reason.”
“I have no work for you, small one.”
“What, you need someone to get something off of the top shelf?” Ziggy quipped. It was at this moment that Ziggy realized that the man must be completely incapable of smiling, but his words seemed to have the intended effect because there was a brief pause of contemplation.
“If… If you can determine what happened to my deliveries, then I will make you a deal. After you come back”
“This errand with Eamon may be dangerous, and if I die because I did not have access to one of your fine potions, then you will be lacking both the information regarding your cart and a paying customer,” Ziggy pressed, earning a dirty look from the vendor.
Fully exasperated, and tired of the gnome’s persistence, the shopkeeper sighed loudly. “Fine, two gold each, but these prices are conditional on our bargain. If you do not bring me the information that I need, then the prices will return to what they were, and I will expect another ten gold from you upon your return.”
“Deal. I’ll take two,” Ziggy handed four gold to the man and removed his goods from the wooden rack. “It would also be helpful for me to know your name so that I can discern the whereabouts of your supplies, Mr.…?”
At that moment, the door banged open and Knucklebones swaggered in. “Azhaire!!!”
Azhaire made no attempt to disguise his annoyance and disdain for the man that had just entered. “What do you want, McTarly?”
“I’m just here to purchase some of your wares,” Knucklebones replied casually. He noticed the potions sitting on the countertop and pointed at them. “How much?”
“Now, Azhaire,” Ziggy interceded. “This is one of my companions that will be accompanying me on my errand with the Mayor. He will almost certainly be aiding me in discovering the whereabouts and information regarding your missing supplies. I purchased my potions for four gold a piece,” Ziggy fibbed. “It would seem fair that he gets the same discount.”
“He’s with you?” Azhaire grumbled. Ziggy nodded in response. “Fine. Four gold each. So if we’re all done here, then I would ask you to le–”
“Actually,” Ziggy chimed in, causing yet another sigh to escape the ever impatient Azhaire. “I need two more things. Throw them in with our purchases and we’ll leave you in peace for the night.”
“That will depend on what you need,” Azhaire responded carefully.
“A grappling hook and 50 ft of rope.”
With their requested items in hand, the door slammed shut and bolted behind the pair, leaving Ziggy and Knucklebones outside, both blinking in surprise at the speed at which they had been shoved out of the building.
After a moment, Ziggy looked up at Knucklebones and handed the rope and grappling hook towards the man. “Gonna need you to keep these safe, ‘bones,” Ziggy said.
“I don’t think so,” Knucklebones chuckled, making no move to take the items from Ziggy.
‘I think you should.”
Knucklebones laughed again, “Why is that?”
Ziggy started walking towards the Sleeping Sailor, with Knucklebones following not far behind. “Well, while I’m very good at convincing others to do my bidding, my body has thus far refused to be tricked into believing that it is carrying less than it actually is.”
“You think you’re that good, eh?”
“I know I am.”
“You seem pretty sure of yourself,” Knucklebones teased.
“Look at what you’re holding.”
Knucklebones stopped short and looked down at himself. Sure enough, despite refusing to carry the gear moments before, he found the rope coiled around his shoulder and a grappling hook in his left hand. Dumbfounded, he looked up towards Ziggy, who had not broken stride.
“Damn,” he whispered. “He is good.”
Later that evening, the group met back up outside of Eamon’s residence. Marcenda, curiously, was accompanied by the elf that Ziggy had noticed at the bar. She introduced herself as Ileasa Suncrest, but offered little more information. The group assembled, McTarly led the group inside.
A fire illuminated the ornately adorned interior, painting the gold and mahogany decorations in a light orange color. At the center of the room sat a massive desk, with carved gargoyles at each corner and papers scattered about on top of it. Ziggy, Marcenda, and Ileasa all took an interest in the trophies of slain beasts that adorned the walls. He didn’t recognize all of them, but he did know note a minotaur’s stuffed head, the horns of some magical beast, and, most impressively, the claws that must have belonged to a bronze dragon.
He looked across the room to see both Koruk and Knucklebones completely enraptured with a sword that hung on the far wall. It was huge and no doubt responsible for most, if not all, of the dismembered body parts of Eamon’s dead foes. As he neared it, Ziggy saw that the blade was perfectly honed with a dark, glassy material that he didn’t recognize. The pommel was the shape of a dragon’s head, open in an endless, silent scream, while the guards looked exactly as he imagined a dragon’s wings might.
“Quite a fine sword, isn’t she?” Eamon asked as he entered the room.
Knucklebones, unable to tear their eyes from the weapon, could only nod in response. Koruk, while impressed with the blade, was not so deeply under its spell as his fellow fighter was. “So, what can you tell us about this quest? Is there trouble?”
Eamon crossed his arms behind his back and began pacing in front of the fire. “Well… We’re not exactly sure,” he responded. “There was a runner, a young boy, who came to Haven to deliver a message not more than a week ago. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to relay the message before he died from a mortal wound that he sustained on his journey to us. We tried to make him as comfortable as possible in his final hours and Brother Patracles prayed to the Mother of Lyons over him.”
“Did he have a name?” Marcenda inquired.
“Colin, I believe,” Eamon replied.
Marcenda pulled out a small notebook and piece of charcoal out of her pouch and scribbled something in it, presumably the boy’s name.
“So, what exactly would we be doing,” Ileasa asked hesitantly.
“Well, we need to determine what the reason was for dispatching the boy.”
“Colin,” Marcenda corrected.
“Er… yes, Colin. Regardless, we will be traveling to the area. I don’t expect much trouble along the way. It’s entirely possible that the boy, Colin, was attacked by bandits in the area, but… I don’t know. It seems unlikely that would be the case.”
Ziggy looked up at Eamon inquisitively. “This… work, is there any sort of payment for it?”
Eamon looked surprised. “The good of the realm isn’t payment enough?”
“Mr. Mayor,” Ziggy replied, “If we are to do this work, then we will need to find a way to make it beneficial for us. We all have to scratch out a living and–“
“I’ll do join you,” Koruk interrupted before Ziggy could finish bargaining. “I do not require payment to see the benefit of making this a safer land for us to reside in, like the gnome.”
Ziggy sighed quietly, knowing that the chance was all but gone. Marcenda, Ileasa, and Knucklebones all quickly agreed with Koruk, leaving Ziggy as the odd one out.
“Well, sir gnome?” Eamon asked. “Is the charity of ensuring safety for others a good enough reward for you?”
“I suppose it will have to do, won’t it? I just hope that the realm will do some good for us when we’re all destitute and starving. Could you at least arrange rooms for us, so that we can have a place to rest before this journey?”
Eamon chuckled. “Go to the Slovenly Halfling. I don’t think Jortun, the owner, has charged a guest since he opened. Join me after dinner at my house; we’ll discuss the journey tonight. We will leave before the week is out. If you have anything that you need to do before we set out, I’d suggest you do it soon. So, if there is nothing else…”
No one seemed to require any additional answers, so the group exited the building, with Knucklebones stealing one last, longing look at the sword on the far wall, and headed off in the direction of the Slovenly Halfling.
As Eamon had suggested, the half-orc owner seemed unconcerned with payment, and just asked that the guests be respectful of their surroundings and their temporary neighbors. Ziggy wondered how it was feasible for the building to stay open, but he did not question it for fear of upsetting Jortun and ruining a good thing. The group each found their respective rooms and disbanded for the evening.