|MIN LEVEL||START LOCATION||START REQUIREMENTS|
|954||Karthak (Shambles) (10,2)||SK IV Medallion (Complete Payback)|
The three story stone faced buildings of the Shambles give off an old, rooted feel. The paths are wide enough for a cart to pass, but with a constant flow of people. You are struck with an odd haze that permeates the air. The thin mist twists through the masses as they pass. Thin smoke trails after them.
A brisk young woman in the robes of a Seer looks straight at you, 'Are you the Hunter I am waiting for?'
The woman takes the Medallion, 'Excellent, a Hunter who is actually competent judging by the marks.' She hands it back, 'Well when you are ready, after sharpening your knives or whatever, - I shall tell you what I require.'
The Seer stares at you with an unmoving glare, 'Are you ready?'
An icy smirk flashes across her face for an instant, replaced as quickly by a mask of cool indifference. You mark the schooling of high society, where passion is seen as weakness. 'I am Jamesina, a Seer. You may not know, but in the circles of Magic my School of Talent is not highly regarded. We can't destroy our enemies with fireballs or summon creatures to aid us. We just look into the future and try to give guidance to the possibilities we find there.'
You see her jaw clench against an unheard memory. You guess she has not been treated well by her peers. She blinks quickly, then her gaze locks onto you again. 'My School of Magic is extremely delicate. The flow of future memory can be warped, changed by many things. I can see this and compensate for them!' Sudden anger flares, her hands ball up into porcelain fists. You recognize all the signs frustration and the tiny deaths at the daggers of mockery.
You nod you head slowly and say that you believe her. Then ask what the problem is?
She searches your face for falsehood, but only sees your honest, unflinching eyes gazing back. She suddenly sees simple acceptance of her words, 'Oh, uum, yes. Well, I have a problem. It's not that I can't follow the rivers of possibility any more. It just that they all empty into a void. If it was just for one reading I could be convinced that it was purely that the person was going to die, or was entering a time of convergence. Where their decisions will shape their future, and then the flow of time will resume. It does happen from time to time. But this void is for everyone. This is impossible, either everyone in Karthak is doomed to die, or some thing is smothering my sight. I can tell a doom and it's not that. It must be the second reason.'
The murky wisps hangs in the air. It muffles both sound and vision. You walk the streets in search of the evil that would twist the Seers talent. You imagine it must be quite something as she strikes you as a formidable person. A familiar sight suddenly catches your eye...
In the shadows you see a Cut Purse stalking someone. You see no one in the gloom, so you quicken your step. Then you spot an Old Peddler sitting in a lonely corner clutching a half empty tray in her gnarled hands.
Her tired eyes flicker open and she looks around slowly. The Cut Purse freezes, the turns and dashes off into the mist. Lost him! You take two steps, then rage into the choking clouds. A brittle chuckle brings you back to yourself.
'It never ceases to amaze me how youth can have such energy. I see you are a stranger to the Shambles. May I ask what you are looking for? No one comes here unless they are in search of something.' You tell her that you are searching for an evil that might be clouding a Seers talent. A crafty smile crawls over the old woman's weathered face.
'Ahhh, I shall tell you of an evil that walks unseen along the streets of the Shambles. But you must do me a favor first. I hear that the Street Peddlers are doing a roaring trade over in the Merchant Quarter. If you get me some Shiny Baubles for my tray, I will tell you our secret.' She holds out a battered scroll.
In the pale wisps of the Shambles the Old Peddler sits, 'You got my Shiny Baubles?'
She takes the trinkets and sets them proudly on her tray. She beams up at you, 'I'll get a good price for these, thank you Warrior.'
'Now, when I was a young Girl we were told a story by our parents to get us to go to bed. It was about a clan of Ghouls that live in the sewers of Karthak. They cannot go into direct sunlight of course, as all Undead are afflicted by that pure light. So they drag loners and tramps down under the streets and force them to drink their black blood. This turns them into an empty creation. They then have no will of their own, and are dominated by the will of the Ghoul who's blood they drank.'
'The Ghoul can see through the eyes of the Hollow, they send them up into the Shambles to wander the streets looking for those with the death mark. The Ghouls can see those marked to die. The Hollow's job is to find these marked wretches and find out their name. The name is important, as everyone in Karthak has an official grave spot in the Necropolis. How the Ghouls know where everyone is to be buried is unknown, maybe it's simply because they spend so much time there. Who knows. But if they know who is going to die and were they are to be buried, the Ghoul can then simply wait beneath the grave and eat the freshly buried corpse at their leisure.'
She sighs, 'Thankfully it's just a story. Because the Hollows are impossible to kill without the Knife of Lindarsil. I have forgotten how to make the Knife, but there is a statue to Lindarsil in the Temple Quarter. I think it tells you how to make it. Any way, thank you for the trinkets. Though a tale for these might be a little stingy, so take this Runed Steel Cup. Only we born of the Shambles have this. It shows that you are one of us.' The old woman hands you a wide steel goblet, on its side is the symbol of the sun. She smiles up at you for a moment and with that, Old Peddler settles down and draws in her worn shawl tighter against the cold.
The cold metal cup chills your hand. You look around and see just trailing mists. It would be the perfect place to hide an Undead in this gloomy murk. There has been nothing else you have seen out of the ordinary, you might as well check out this Statue in the Temple Quarter.
The Temple Quarter is airy, the wide roads flanked with rich pale stone buildings. You see a marked increase in the numbers of City Guard patrolling the area next to the Shambles. You ask one of these Guards where the Statue of Lindarsil is, he points you north.
You walk the broad avenue and eventually find the delicate statue surrounded by blood red roses. At the base of the Statue you see an broad inscription. But for some reason it is covered in charcoal, so you cannot read the words.
A small child pushes past you and places a piece of parchment on the stone plaque. The child then begins to rub the parchment carefully. When this was done he turns, laughing with glee, taking the parchment back to his mother, who was standing behind you.
The inscription has been used many times and charcoal covers the plate where the words are carved into the stone. Obviously many people have done this before you. Placing the rich parchment over the inscription you rub gently.
Turning it over you marvel at how clear the rubbing is. They are instructions on how to make the Knife of Lindarsil. Your heart sinks when you see the ingredients... You pray that the Knife will help you in finding the Evil that is troubling the Seer.
Jamesina is talking to a small child when you return. As you draw near you hear her voice soft and lilting in the mists. You wonder at the power of a child to draw out the best in people. The child sees you and scampers off into the haze.
The Seer straightens, 'Have you found out if there is an evil present in the Shambles?'
Jamesina looks at the wide steel goblet in her hands. The black liquid simmers gently within it, but no heat is felt through the steel. The Symbol of the Sun runs off the side of the cup like melting wax. She has to move her fingers to avoid the molten steel. She leaves finger marks on it's side as she does so.
She looks up at you, 'I don't understand, I see molten steel, but there is not heat. This looks like a Hollow Cup. But it can't be, Hollows are just a tale told to disobedient children.' She trails off.
With fear in her eyes she covers the goblet with her cloak, 'I must see my mentor about this. He will know. Although I suspect that this is not a forgery. You are not the type. But I must make sure. If Hollows have risen again in the Shambles... Then an evil tide is rising. Please do not speak of this to anyone. We do not want to start a panic. I thank you for this Hunter. I will instruct your employer you have done the Company proud. Good day, I must go quickly.'
You should return to the Merchant Quarter and find Sathkaan in the SK Offices.