The Strifelord weighed the Chaplin’s words carefully as the tall man spoke, his dark tone was thick with implications. Years connected the two men and their positions; the Strifelord, then under Bane’s dark clergy and member of the Zhentarim high command; he would communicate regularly with the Precept’s own Chaplain of the Black Altar in Zhentil Keep. But that thin connective tissue, the church of Bane, was gone leaving behind the behemoth that was the Ministry.
A small wooden crate sat like stone, dead center in the parlor adding gravity to the meeting while emphasizing a kind of gulf that had come between the two men. Outside the stone castle, cold wind blew with renewed ferocity despite the warmer months to come.
“In years past the Black Network has provided its invaluable service in shaping the realms and has helped elevate the Moonsea to the next great era of man. I am here as a formal representative because the Ministry calls for the Zhentarim again; though I come to you as a colleague with hopes of elevating your position.” the Chaplain paused before explaining, “the world is at a tipping point and threatens to regress man back to the dark ages.”
It was an overstatement but the Strifelord understood that anything that halted the progress of mankind threatened the very concept of progress itself.
“The collective dogma under the Ministry’s tenants demands we strike out for the preservation of our way of life.” The Chaplain balled his fists for emphasis. He could have gone on but both men were colleagues before the godsfall, and why should that change? But here he was, the Chaplain formally petitioning the Zhentarim.
The Chaplain indicated the crate in front of them, “These are the war plans for the new offensive. It is time we remove the purple stain from the world map."
The Strifelord's first reaction was one of amusement when he identified the target of the offensive and then shock. Dozens of maps heavily denoted with troop deployments for both undead and living combatants; phases of war along with land targets complete with projected timetables. It was complete, taking in account for contingencies- it was genius.
“The Ministry hopes this arrangement can endure for future years and it looks to you Strifelord, to act as the Zhentairm’s new director. This should help your ambitions in light of the organization’s most recent setback. ”
The Strifelord hid is surprise well from the Chaplain and thought next about how to proceed, the time of recruiting has begun.