Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Knights of Antiquity Part 7: Knight to King Four

Artemus Dimartius could barely contain his excitement when he saw her enter his curio shop. Artemus knew that his message had been received; he was just unsure what his cousin’s response would be. The fact that Raine had sent Clarice struck Artemus as a good sign. She was efficient, capable of making decisions on her own and seemed to not only have Raine’s ear but his trust as well. The young woman had visited his shop twice before, once to purchase a rare magical component, Artemus assumed for Raine, and once to inform him when Maskar had fallen deathly ill.

Clarice approached the castle ward merchant once she was the only remaining customer, “You should secure your shop and come for a ride with me in thecarriage. I would like to discuss your message.” Artemus’ pulse raced at her words and he quickly grabbed his coat and rapier following her outside to the waiting carriage. Once inside the opulent carriage Artemus was pleasantly surprised to find it quite warm and supremely balanced. Clarice, smiling, commented, “You are truly wise, not saying anything, allowing me to provide you plenty of hints as to which way the wind blows. We assume you have proof of your claim?” Artemus returned the young woman’s smile responding, “My proof is not absolute, it is just my observations that are unique, I admit my perspective is assisted by my own bastard upbringing.” The merchant continued, “Understand I didn’t pursue this information, I was just trying to discover which ships were still risking the weather and attempting their runs. I expected mercenaries and privateers along with shipments of weapons and food, what I didn’t expect was anything approaching official city business.” Reaching inside his coat pocket, Artemus handed over several shipping manifests, “As you can see these shipments to the Purple Rocks have been going on for some time now and all of them are on orders from Sai Piergeiron.”

Clarice looked over the documents noting the diplomatic seals that appeared on all of them. What the opportunistic bastard cousin hadn’t mentioned was that the deliveries were not to a corporation or official body, they were all to be delivered directly to King Bromm Sithas the Sun Speaker. If these war time deliveries were ever discovered by certain foreign powers it could immediately plunge Waterdeep into war. While that information alone would provide Raine with the leverage he needs with Piergeiron it was Artemus’ theory that had intrigued her employer.

“If it wasn’t for the risk Piergeiron was undertaking I wouldn’t have questioned the shipments but the more I thought about it the more I realized that there was something odd there. The reason I think it could be him is that one of the sailors mentioned that sometimes their captain delivers the Sun Speaker personal letters from the Sai himself.” Artemus explained, “Sometimes the rumors are true and the timing certainly fits.”

Clarice handed the merchant a signet ring along with a set of keys, “Raine said to tell you your friends are trapped in Undermountain by some strange dwarves, and he welcomes you, officially, to the Wand  family.”

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