DColby The Merchant

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Into the audience chamber comes a stout fellow even for a Dwarf, the first signs of his jet black beard turning grey lend him a wise continence. The clothes he wears are expensive but well made and tastefully cut in conservative fashion. He bows low and awaits your acknowledgment of his presence before he speaks, ensuring first that only you are within earshot.
"My Lord/My Lady I am Harfdan Stonehand of the clan Wainier and I come on personal not Guild or Clan Business. I thank you for hearing me in private and I pray that you will hear me out and consider well what I have to say."
"You are obviously familiar my lord with the legends of the sword of Roele. The Gift of the people of my nation granted to Michael Roele upon his ascension to the Iron Throne. The weapon that now lays somewhere lost within the Gorgon's lands."
"What if my lord I was to tell you that the Sword of Michael Roele was but a replica of a greater blade forged for the First Roele. A blade that was carried by each Emperor until Alandalae was slain at Asarwe and the sword vanished from history."
"The loss of this blade would have been such a blow to Anuirean prestige that its vanishing was never made common knowledge. In that chaos that followed the Death of Alandalae the thief was never caught, nor did the thief ever use the blade for it was famous enough at that time to surely have been recognized if one had been so bold to have used the Sword of the Empire."
"Now some 700 years later knowledge that this blade even existed is possessed by only a few. Thus to the best of my knowledge I am the only one who may know where the blade lies. This Knowledge that I came by through no small feat of research at no small cost to myself I will willingly share for a worthy remuneration."
"I will even in order to prove my honesty share with you that I do not know the exact resting place, only the nation in which the blade resides and the names of those who unknowing of what rests within can reveal to you its resting place. What say you my Lord/My Lady shall you hear more, and if so how much is the knowledge I can impart worth to you?"
Harfdan has told no lies to this point, so his bluff skill vs. a player's Detect Motive will reveal that he is being truthful. Likewise any magical means of detecting the truth will also show no lie. The players may well wonder why Harfdan chose them. (For Harfdan's skills see the NPC?s Section)
"I chose you my lord/my lady for your reputation as an Adventurer as well as a ruler. The recovery of the Sword will be no light task. A task I might add for which I am ill suited unlike your-self."
Here again Harfdan speaks truthfully if somewhat evasively, a successful roll against his bluff will only reveal that Harfdan is holding back something. If the player pushes for further clarification Harfdan will be impressed.
"My Lord/My Lady it is clear you are no fool, great danger and trouble will come to he/she that recovers the Sword of the Empire. You must weigh whether the risk is outdone by the reward for yourself."
If all else fails Harfdan is not above jabbing a regent?s ego.
"Perhaps as well My Lord/My Lady you should also think of what may be thought and said of you when another ruler does accept my offer and successfully recovers the greatest prize in Anuire when you demurred to take the risk."
Hopefully by now the player/players have risen to the bait and are interested. If they remain reluctant the D.M. that knows best how to motivate his party can likely engineer a need to undertake this mission.
Whatever amount frugal or extravagant the Player/Players offer will be accepted by Harfdan as he is eager to see the sword searched for, if not found. Harfdan will be reluctant to accompany the party on this adventure as he is only an expert and has no skills really applicable to the quest, but if he must he will do so, his cause is everything and his life nothing in comparison. Once a deal has been struck Harfdan will reveal the following.
"My Lord/My Lady the Blade was taken by some of the last surviving Knights in the Order of the Sun. A religious fighting order dedicated to the worship of Avani that was nearly destroyed in the uprising against their Anuirean conquerors?, and who expended the last of their strength in the battle that claimed the life of Emperor Alandalae."
"In fact the cream of the Order was in the vanguard of the Charge riding with El-Arrasi directly into the Anuirean Ranks in order to reach the Emperor's Guard. The Emperor?s personal guard, fanatics all, exacted a terrible price and while successful the Order of the Sun had spent its strength and never recovered, fading from history. As worshipers of Avani they would not have destroyed the blade, but as it was the weapon of a hated rival they would not have returned it nor would they have wielded it."
"Therefore my Lord/My Lady it must lay in one of the Order's Priories or Tombs, for in such places forbidden or dangerous knowledges were guarded very likely the Great Tomb of the Order of the Sun considering the import of the Sword. The exact location of the Great Tomb is known to few, but it is known to have existed in the lands now known as the Chimaeron. The Chimera is a reclusive and mercurial creature, but not entirely unreasonable."
"Dwelling within the Chimaeron are three mages, brothers who share the land's sources who are expert in all the esoteric knowledge?s of the area. If the Great Tomb lies within the Chimaeron, then at least one of the three surely knows where the Tomb can be found."
Harfdan has just set the players no small task, however if they balk remind them of how great the reward commiserate with the difficulty!

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