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There’s something about being waited on by a trio of blackmailed nobles that makes me truly sad to leave Varisia. Of course, these nobles were not blackmailed by us; they were simply—
The above lines are crossed out repeatedly and barely legible.
I shall truly miss Varisia, but that market is saturated already by our burgeoning enterprises. One might think that ending the threat of a runelord would open new commercial opportunities, but apparently such a feat merely makes locals feel safer and less interested in buying guaranteed protection services.
Instead let us turn our sights to the world beyond Varisia’s borders. The folk of far-off places like Taldor, Katapesh, and the like say, “Who is this Guaril Karela? I have never heard of these Sczarni you mention.” These are people who I would love to conscript for a jury, but they are hardly doing our humble operation any favors in the long run. Let us start with the low-hanging fruit of Mendev, where I hear there’s no end of demand for the rarely sufficient supply. Of course, where there’s demand for goods exchanged over the table, there’s a niche for purchasing choice goods under the table, too.
The trouble is that we don’t have enough information just yet as to who does the moving and shaking in the shadows of Nerosyan. If there’s nobody there already, then the Diamond of the North is ours for the taking. If there’s someone operating there already, find out who’s who and how they operate. If you’re having trouble finding out who to talk to, don’t forget to check among the metal-clad dupes who keep throwing themselves in front of demons—the local vernacular is “crusaders;” I’ve heard some of them grew up around shady folk and might know a thing or two about shady dealings.
|Yusef 'Beni' Mihai|
As a youth I saw many crusaders pass through Starfall on their way north to Mendev. A crusader's coin buys many indulgences, whether it be cold iron, warm companionship, holy water or mulled wine. There is a saying, "Shadows run long and deep in men whose hearts burn with the light of righteousness."
The shadows of the Diamond City demand a sharp mind and a sharp blade, something the Sczarni are never in short supply of.
Lev is always in the mood for profit. I will make these inquiries for you, old friend, but as we say in the old country "only a fool and a baby tells the truth." So I believe the information you are looking for will be difficult to attain, or expensive, or both. I am confidant I can count on you for resources, Da?
Do svidaniya, cousin, and may the Goddess shine her luck upon all you do.
|Pontificor the Great|
Dear Unci Gorrila,
Thanks for pulling strings to get me to that wedding. I gots us a Blackros mater-mark in our pocket. Also I appreciate being sent to eat those postitute soul cookies, get some sweet tats, and a floating stone of make spells more awesome.
I am sorry, I am not very das-creet.
|Roga Gula, The Obsidian Demon|
A wiry Kellid man is led into the room in chains by a pair of rather angry looking crusaders, their belt pouch swelled with what can only think to be bribe gold and set down at the nearest table. "Hmph he's all yours now Guaril, hope your "donation" was worth keeping this demon alive."
"Mind removing the cuffs friend?"
"Heh, when Deskari gives me a tuggy." with that they throw a bandolier onto his lap and saunter off.
The man looks up from his chains, his wild braids swaying beneath a topknot held up by bone spears. "Well, that was fun, word to the wise if you plan on doing something desperate or illegal avoid being near the crusaders. Anyways anyone care to help a member out?"
I have recently arrived in Mendev and have come across some of these "crusaders". I must say that I am not impressed with most of them with the exception of one. He called himself Sir Ilivan. This brave man was once in imports and exports such as ourselves. He told me of a plot against someone on great import in Absolam, while he couldn't tell who exactly he hinted that it was a faction leader. Keep your wits about you dear cousin. I received the impression he might have been talking about you. At first I did not like this man but through our journey together I grew to like and admire him. We went to help release some of his fellow "crusaders" that had been captured. Upon finding them Sir Ilivan valiantly gave his life for their and our freedom. I have started negotiations with some of the crusaders to start trade. I have also contacted some "others" to open the way for us here. Please be careful cousin. If you send any supplies this way make sure that cold iron is issued to all emissaries as it has great effect on the creatures here. Will send another report in a weeks time. Be well cousin and always watch the shadows.
Removing a faction leader? Could the Andoran Eagle Knight chased the wrong skirt? Perhaps the Blackros family is finally getting their come uppance?
Cousin, perhaps we should stay out of the cursed North and try to take advantage of the absense of those flocking to the crusade. The mice can play while the cats are away.
Cousin i have recently returned from Tymon. While there I found out some disturbing news that a certain missing faction leader has been creating problems for our interests. This "light in the darkness" has hired some locals to hinder us. While i was in Tymon i also ran across a band of pirates that were causing problems for the society. I would suggest that you might wish to train some of our cousins in the fighting styles here in Tymon, it seems to be quite effective. Well my cousin I must end this letter for now. I shall send word to you if i find anymore information about the plots against us. As always Be well cousin and always watch the shadows.
Cousin ... This "light in the darkness" has hired some locals to hinder us.
I feared for your safety when this "light in the darkness" extinguished itself to everyone's surprise. I can only imagine what treachery is afoot, but you should know that I will do my best to be exceedingly discreet over the coming year.
Watch you back, cousin, someone's after you.
I have not traveled north yet. ... been playing fiddle at taverns and clubs around the Inner Sea, doing the odd Pathfinder mission. But when I play my set, I've got a number of songs prepared that get people thinking about the Crusades to close the Worldwound. Depending on the sympathies of the audience, I play the song most likely to please their prejudices. In Taldor, I play on the glories of their past crusade to stop the Whispering Tyrant. In Andoran, I sing of the glorious sacrifices made to secure our freedom from demonic rule. In Cheliax, I sing a song that mocks both the inefficient chaos of the demon assaults and the corrupt paladins fighting against them.
Whichever song I play, I end my set with it, buy a bottle of strong liquor with part of my pay, circulate the crowd lubricating the tongues of any I encounter who are talking about the North. So far, I've heard nothing that I would consider reliable. I have heard a few rumors that the demons made a fresh assault on many cities at once. A grizzled old dwarf who claimed to have been in one of the battles swore the wardstones all shattered, but in doing so, they slew many demons and put a temporary halt to their attacks. He said there emerged a group of heroes blessed by the gods who were rallying the troops and giving new hope of victory. That's probably just wishful thinking, but who knows?
You might want to have contingency plans for what happens if the war ends and the knights all begin to come home. Might not be much left up there worth fighting over. Or there might be a way to profit from the return of the warriors.