We met with PME Guildmistress Thornton this morning. Halia paid our due reward, 100 gold pieces, but seemed strangely displeased by how utterly complete was our slaughter of the Red Brands. Of course, she did not understand: this was not an errand she had sent me on, but a personal vendetta of my own, and that my motive was not mere reward, but merciless revenge. Doomspawn is nobody’s ‘puppy.’
Nevertheless, for what Halia described as our “moxie,” she has offered both Luvien and myself titled positions, as “Fangs” of the Zhentarim. Obviously, Jorad the Impetuous snapped up the offer without the faintest whiff of hesitation or thought… but in Tantras, I had grown up hearing epic tales of the Zhents (or ‘Zhen-Way’ as their brand of goods was known), in which they seemed to be some sort of mix between a Banite cult and a Cyricist pyramid scheme, so I was naturally wary.
Over lunch, Halia assured me that was “the OLD Zhentarim,” from their early “Black Network” days in Zhentil Keep, and that all those notorious stories about Manshoon and Fzoul and the rest is all ancient history, that these scandals only live on in minstrel stories, that they don’t represent the modern organization, blah blah blah…
I told her I would accept the title of “Zhentarim Fang” upon two humble conditions. The first, that she, as an influential and formidable citizen of this town, would accompany me to the Townmaster’s Hall, to vouch for our party’s recent heroics. To this, she agreed, so we went immediately to see the Townmaster. After Halia’s gracious introduction to Harbin Wester, I declared, though they were by all accounts universally considered the Scourge of Phandalin, that the erstwhile Red Brands were nevertheless tolerated as the de facto lords of Tresendar Manor; therefore, as my friends and I are “The Scourge of the Suddenly-Dead-Brands,” by this hand [as I raise a fist bearing the three platinum signet rings] and the Right of Conquest, I demand that we be lawfully-recognized as the new residents of Tresendar Manor by the Townmaster of Phandalin!
And, how could he object? Over time, we will re-invest in the town, providing jobs to the local suppliers and builders needed to repair the structure, and fix up the old ruin; meanwhile, the townmaster can spread the word that nobody messes with Phandalin anymore, now that we’re here. Indeed, the Townmaster has titled us officially as “Honourable Worthies of Phandalin, and declared that our band is, in his words, “welcome to claim the land on the condition that they rebuild the manor to its former state within two years… no taxes will be levied during this period.” I think for now, we should have sturdy new doors with locks installed to secure the lower level, clean up a few rooms to serve as living quarters, and move our belongings over from the Stonehill Inn.
As for my second request to Halia, I merely asked that she help send a message posthaste to Dannak the White, back in Neverwinter. Halia said she could send the message with one of her caravan masters, assuring me that they would be “discrete, unfailingly loyal, and will deliver unopened, unmolested and unread any sensitive missives to their proper recipient; no questions asked.”
My message to Dannak [written in Infernal-script, as is our custom in such correspondence] read as follows: “Dwarf friend captured, Doomspawn & Co. in pursuit. Need info on: “Black Spider”/Cragmaw Castle/Iorno ‘Glasstaff’ Albreck—signed, Maledicta Fortuna, Tresendar Manor, Phandalin.”
I thought Dannak should know that his friend is in trouble, and Beshaba knows I love to give someone bad news! I’m not sure if the Half-Orc will have any useful information to help us, but he will appreciate that we are showing some concern for Mr. Rockseeker’s wellbeing.
Back at the inn, I distributed equal shares of our treasure out to the members of our hexad. It is interesting to see how their choices reflect their unique spirits:
- Tegan, the mercurial bard, chose the lot with the most variety: a signet ring, the two green peridots, and a handful of gold pieces.
- Jorad, the single-minded warlock, was drawn to the solitary perfect pearl.
- Gunx, ever true to his dragon-blood, could not resist the pile of gold coins.
- Tolarin, inscrutable as ever, chose a signet ring, and 50 gold coins
- Brick, so accustomed to taking orders, was paralyzed by the choice between lots two and three, so I made the choice for him, by taking the eyepatch from lot two, and the signet ring from lot three, leaving Brick the earring, garnets, and carnelians.
It seems we cunts are fated to be together, so we really do need a proper name for our fellowship, especially now that our reputation has begun to grow…
Per ardua, ad astra, per angusta ad augusta, per fas et nefas, per fidem intrepidus.. as of this day, I dedicate myself fully to serving the Maid of Misfortune, for all my days, as her most devoted priestess.
Blessed Beshaba, may I eternally sail upon your unyielding hardship, klaatu barada nikto amen.