Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tales from Zhentil Keep

Lord Ferestian Halaster had spent too much time working his way up through the Zhentarim to allow anyone in his network to go unchecked. That had been his predecessors downfall, considering some problems too small or trivial for his attention. When Ferestian was promoted to overseeing the area covering the Serpent Hills, the domain from Harkstag to Xonthal’s Tower, he needed to know as much as he could about the various Zhent agents they employed there. Ferestian asked for and received permission from the Council of Lords to use The Strangers, specialist Zhent wizards that manipulated magic to alter and change their appearance at will. Three months before Ferestian had sent out a half dozen Strangers and today the first Stranger, Vicarzo DeMarcain returned from Xonthal’s Tower with a report on Hansibal Droun a merchant agent working and residing in the village. The reports from Hansibal had been of little importance or detail in the files Ferestian had reviewed before sending the Stranger. Ferestian was particularly troubled by the lack of detail on those travelling through the Greypeak Mountains.

“Did you know that Hansibal once had a wife?” enquired Vicarzo, “Most of the locals have forgotten her but she was said to be quite exotic.” Ferestian nodded hoping the wizard would continue. “Lots of interesting tidbits on our Mr. Droun, some people in Xonthal’s Tower believe that Hansibal was there when the Darhold nine attacked the tower and if that were true it would have been before he was converted to our cause.”

“Is he compromised?” Ferestian querried. “He should be easily replaced.”

The stranger stared at Ferestian for a moment, his physical form began shifting, startling the Zhentarim Lord. Where seconds before had sat a curly, dark haired, male of medium size and age, now sat a woman whose skin had a greenish brown tint and exotic pale drawn face of regal bearing. “Hansibal Droun has three daughters that look much like this” The shockingly male voice informed, “while the wife was said to have perished at childbirth, triplets it would seem.”

Lord Halaster stared at the Strangers form while moving from behind his desk to the book shelf along the west wall of his office. Pulling down a tome from the shelf he turned the pages until he came upon the drawing, an artist’s rendition of one of the fabled monsters that roamed the Serpent Hills. Handing the book over to the altered Vicarzo, they both stared down at a greenish brown creature the tome identified as a Yuan Ti.

“I think his wife had a secret Lord Halaster, a racial secret.” The Stranger intoned as he returned to his normal form. “She didn’t die, she was revealed, at least to him. I know the daughters have sorcerous powers.”

“What are they involved in Vicarzo? I thought Sorcery was only derived from Dragon Blood?”

The Stranger smiled and responded, “Strangely enough, have you heard of a dragon named Marshana? The daughters recently returned with tales of her from their travels through The Forest of Wyrms.”

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