A Deal with the Daemon
 

Prellis the scribe

UP: Atlantic

    It was during one of his visits to Rivendellthat the daemon Nostur’yl first heard the name Merrick. Merrick, who wasperhaps a strong leader over his people but one who would have remainedinsignificant to Nostur’yl, had he not been in a most generous mood whenapproached on the matter. As such he listened to the request for help from thecreature before him and a plan grew in his mind.

The spawn of Merrick spoke of how its master was being hunted for crimes againstRivendell and would not be able to hold out much longer without aid. What aidthey had hoped for from the daemon was perhaps an army of daemon-kin, or perhapssome other help in destroying the town, but the daemon had his own agenda andwisely knew when violence would be needed or when it could be avoided. Ratherthen assist in an attack upon the town of Rivendell he instead met with itsmayor, Aleph Aeirs.

Within the backroom of the Hungry Halfling tavern, Nostur’yl spoke to themayor saying, “Regardless of what you might believe, I have never lied to anyhere in this realm, a few of mine own kind perhaps, but never in this realm. Assuch I propose a bargain to you and yours. Release Merrick of all his pastcrimes and in return I shall leave this town and go in peace.”

For a while the two spoke of the contract and the terms of it; Rivendell wouldforget all of Merrick’s previous crimes and in return the daemon would departfrom the town. Although it was quite a tempting offer to Aleph, he was reluctantto give in and requested time to hold a vote of sorts with the citizens of thetown. Nostur’yl consented and agreed to return in one day’s time to hear theanswer.

Unknown to the daemon, members of that very same town had plans of their ownregarding the future of Nostur’yl in Rivendell and the realm as a whole.Several groups had located the amethyst at the Parliament in Magincia in the notso distant past, as had the daemon. What they also had found was a barriererected by the Oracle, which held the gemstone in place and kept the daemon fromtaking hold of it.

After the voting had been completed and a decision reached, a few members leftthe small town resting outside Britain and made their way to Magincia. Whetherfrom a lack of trust in the Oracle’s powers or from the desire to claim theamethyst for their own, the group made their way to the gemstone. A plan wasformed and quickly implemented, breaking the barrier and sealing the amethystwithin a golden necklace. Satisfied with their work, the small group returned toRivendell where they secured the amethyst necklace at the Hungry Halflingtavern.

True to his word, Nostur’yl returned to speak with Aleph Aeirs the followingday and discover the answer to the proposed contract. The short wait for themayor’s arrival was passed with some entertainment from the daemon, at leastwhat he considered entertaining, with the mayor arriving to several scatteredcorpses of hellhounds and injured citizens.

Again the terms of the contract were discussed between Aleph and Nostur’yl, asthe mayor stated his interpretation rather then the original agreement. “Weabsolve Merrick of all his past criminal activity, we...wipe the slate clean,and you leave Rivendell alone, never to return.”

Nostur’yl argued the terms of the contract briefly, but to the surprise ofmany he finally agreed saying, “That is a new bargain, but that I will agreeto as well.”

“As a duly elected official of the City of Rivendell, I hereby declare Merrickbe absolved of any crimes against the citizens of our city, with the caveat thatany criminal activity from this point forward will not only be clearly recordedbut aggressively prosecuted,” Aleph said to the crowd. He then turned toNostur’yl and finished, “Your time is limited beast.”

Cloaked in the illusion of human form, the daemon smiled far more then one whowas about to be banished from a town should and said, “There is one furtherproblem with this bargain. You see, you will now have to hand over the amethyst.For mine self to no longer be present in your town, the amethyst, by decree ofthe bargain, must leave with mine self, never to return, as it is a part of minebeing. Lest you be shown to be a liar mayor, you must as part of our bargainhand over the amethyst.”

A look of shock came over the mayor’s face as the words and their meaningstruck his ears. Grasping for a way out, Aleph asked for proof of the gemstonebeing a part of Nostur’yl.

“If you desire proof of it's nature, ask the Book,” he stated referring tothe Oracle housed in Wind, “As she has told others in the past it is a portionof mine being.”

A party was formed quickly by Aleph while Nostur’yl simply waited, a smirk oftriumph across his face. After far too long for the daemon’s liking, having toexpend great energy to remain visible in the realm, the party returned and themayor once again stood before Nostur’yl.

“I bring news. I demanded the gem be handed to me to be returned to you, butthe gem was taken,” Aleph half bluffed, for while the gem had indeed beentaken, Nostur’yl could feel its presence and knew who held it. Knew it washeld by one they called Craig, the tavern keeper of the Hungry Halfling tavern.

The mayor went on for a moment, but Nostur’yl was lost in thought on how bestto play this out. He finally spoke, more to the crowd then Aleph who stoodbefore him, “That is all well and good mayor. However, you have alreadyabsolved Merrick of his crimes, yet cannot complete the contract.”

“Here is what is to happen. While the amethyst still is not part of mine selfI shall take something of equal value. Say your farewells foolish mayor,” theseeming mage finished. Reverting to his natural daemon body, wings spread widebefore Aleph only to close around his form; and then they both were gone.




From the Town Cryer - The Journal of Ultima Online, Sunday, July 30th 2000