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    The Silver Wolf-For Crown Or Country: Royal Treatments
    Posted on Sat, March 30, 2019 by LordCeb
    CruelSummerLord writes "

    “Of course,” Matthias said, “and that’s why you hired me to look into where the Crown of Arumdina might be. It’s certainly an engaging story, but I had a devil of a time putting everything together. I had to cross-reference several of the sources at the Great Library with some of the sources at the library here,” he said, gesturing around at the Guildhall. “And it would have been easier if our library wasn’t such a disgraceful mess. I’ve told the senile old codgers who run this place a dozen times that they need to reorganize the library, but do they listen? No, of course not!”




    Chapter Three

    Royal Treatments


    Seline Roas Del Cranden tapped her foot impatiently as she waited at one of the tables in the dining hall of Greyhawk Sages’ Guildhall, home of the Free City’s Union of Sages and Academics. She was aware of how much she stood out from everyone else in the room, many of whom were giving her annoyed looks for intruding on their sanctum. Everyone else in the room was either a graying older man with an intellectual air, or an impeccably mannered waiter or porter who served the older men’s needs.

    The older men were all professors and sages at Greyhawk’s famed universities, but Seline looked as if she would have been one of their students. She was a stunningly beautiful young woman in her early twenties, with long strawberry-blonde hair, fair skin and bright green eyes that reflected her largely Sueloise heritage. She had the same keen, intellectual air as the sages around her, which was reflected in the indigo and night-blue robes she wore. Her robes were decorated with silver-colored symbols of stars, moons and planets, clearly identifying her as a wizard. She usually radiated a warm, youthful energy that seemed to brighten the air, making her stand out all the more from the querulous old sages surrounding her. 

    That energy was somewhat subdued today, as Seline looked at the clock on the wall above the bar and wondered when Matthias would arrive. He was the sage she’d hired to try and discover the whereabouts of the Crown of Arumdina, and he’d sent her word to meet him at the Guildhall. Normally, the Guildhall was off limits to everyone who was not both human and male, as was the Union itself, but exceptions were sometimes made for when sages needed to present their findings to patrons. Even so, many of the sages were irritated at having a woman in the Guildhall, and their disapproving expressions made sure Seline knew how upset they were.

    Normally, Seline wouldn’t have been caught dead in such a dreary place, but she knew it was necessary to find the Crown. Looking up at the clock above the bar again, she sighed in frustration.

    Seline’s patience was rewarded several minutes later. Her eyes lit up as she saw a man with thinning salt-and-pepper hair, a matching goatee and a surprisingly broad chest, dressed in austere but neatly tailored red and white clothes, walk into the dining hall. Going up to the bar, the man ordered a fine wine before coming to join Seline at her table. He was clearly in a foul mood, constantly muttering under his breath and adjusting the thick spectacles on his beaky nose.

    “Greetings, Matthias,” Seline said, putting on a cheerful smile as she stood up and reached out to shake the sage’s hand.

    “Greetings indeed,” Matthias said, not bothering to shake Seline’s hand before they sat down again. “A fine thing to say after the night I had!”

    “What night did you have?” Seline asked, repressing her own irritation at Matthias’s brusque manner.

    “I lost a good fifty gold pieces at the monthly backgammon games we play at the Savant Tavern,” Matthias said as he reached into a pocket of his voluminous coat and pulled out a series of parchments. “I’d have done better if I had more time to prepare, but I had to spend it working on your commission.”

    Seline again had to keep the annoyed scowl off her face, since Matthias was going to make his money back a good twenty times over for the work he was doing for her. She knew how to make the whole conversation less painful, given his passion for backgammon.

    “Did you play with the automatic double rule?” Seline said as she made sure to put on an interested expression.

    “Why yes, I…how did you know about that?” Matthias asked in surprise.

    “I heard about it in the dwarven legend of the Ivory and Silver Dice,” Seline said, offering a broad white smile.

    Matthias beamed at that, pleased by Seline’s interest in the game.

    “I was the one who made it popular at the Savant Tavern,” he said, warming to his subject. “None of the narrow-minded coots there ever heard of it before that-don’t pay enough attention to what our non-human kin can teach us. So you’re a fellow student of folklore?”

    “Of legends from several different cultures,” Seline said, “but I’m just a student, of course.”

    “Of course,” Matthias said, “and that’s why you hired me to look into where the Crown of Arumdina might be. It’s certainly an engaging story, but I had a devil of a time putting everything together. I had to cross-reference several of the sources at the Great Library with some of the sources at the library here,” he said, gesturing around at the Guildhall. “And it would have been easier if our library wasn’t such a disgraceful mess. I’ve told the senile old codgers who run this place a dozen times that they need to reorganize the library, but do they listen? No, of course not!”

    Seline did her best to restrain a chuckle, amused by the older man’s rambling. Matthias took a hefty swig of wine and he suddenly calmed down, his expression becoming businesslike.

    “I have all the information in these parchments,” he said as he passed them to Seline, who briefly glanced over them, “but I’ll give you a summary. As you originally said, the Crown was originally a treasure of the gnomish kingdom of Flinthold. The Crown was stolen by thieves in the employ of the King of Loamhedge, another gnomish kingdom bordering where the Principality of Ulek stands today. The King of Loamhedge hated Flinthold for defeating his ancestors’ attempts to invade it in previous centuries, so he had the Crown stolen. The King of Loamhedge planned to use the Crown himself, but he was killed when Loamhedge was defeated in one of the few wars Keoland actually won.”

    Now Seline couldn’t stop from chuckling. She’d heard stories of Keoland’s legendary military ineptitude from her adventuring companion Weimar Glendowyr. Weimar had served in Keoland’s forces, and he confirmed that the old saying that going to war without Keoland was like going to war without a pipe organ was completely true.

    “Keoland claimed the Crown as a war prize, but they likely didn’t realize what they had. They gave it as a diplomatic gift to some visiting Aerdy diplomats who took it back with them. The trail gets a little confused here, but the older sources and the more recent travelogues I consulted all agree that the Crown is still somewhere in the Great Kingdom. It’s not a complete trail, but it should give you enough to start on,” Matthias said.

    Matthias was so preoccupied by what he was saying that he didn’t notice Seline visibly flinch when he mentioned Aerdy. She regained her composure before Matthias was finished speaking, and when he looked at her she was perfectly calm.

    “Thank you, Matthias,” she said with a smile. “Excellent work. I believe we owe you a thousand gold pieces for your work?”

    “That’s right,” Matthias said with a nod. “How are-“

    “See for yourself,” Seline said as she reached into one of her robe’s pockets. Pulling out a small pouch, she tossed it to Matthias. Catching it in midair, Matthias opened the pouch and poured its contents into his hand. A small pile of amethysts sparkled in the light of the dining hall’s chandeliers, and Matthias smiled widely.

    “Each worth a hundred gold orbs, as my gnomish friend confirmed,” Seline said, referring to Greyhawk’s gold piece currency. “I trust everything’s in order, then?” she continued as she and Matthias both stood up to leave.

    “Amply so,” Matthias said with a smile as he escorted Seline out of the dining hall and then out of the Guildhall. “And I appreciate your patronage-things can get so boring in the summer when there aren’t many classes going on,” he continued, shaking Seline’s hand before they parted ways.

    As Seline returned to the Wizard’s Hat Inn where the Company of the Silver Wolf was staying, she mulled over what Matthias had told her.

    She thought of the poems she read as part her education as a young noblewoman in the Great Kingdom of Aerdy, stories of fallen heroes and broken glories.

    "
     
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