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All in a Night’s Work
The shifting of bone and armor behind him brought Jordan Cromwell out of his thoughts. Turning from the departing figures of Lady Molly and the Yew Militia, he spoke to the Death Knight. 

"Now Knight, what can I do for you?" 

Fustiar hissed as he eyed his surroundings. "Ye hath some impressive artifacts within these walls... quite impressive." He slowly took off his helm, revealing his ghastly visage. 

Jordan made a face but continued. "My thanks. Now, what brings you into my home?" 

"I will be brief, I sense you hath things to accomplish. The Lich Lord and the Nephilim have sent me to obtain from ye the sapphire, which Nostur'yl seeks. We shall meet any price." 

Jordan started. "A sapphire, you say?" 

"Indeed, that is what I have been told. I could be mistaken. However, my Master rarely gives me misinformation.." 

Nodding, Jordan said, "Of course. How interesting..." He trailed off, staring into space for a few minutes, deep in thought. 

Bones clacking in anticipation, Fustiar pressed, "Do ye have it?" 

Returning to the here and now, Jordan replied, "As I was telling the others before you, I have many gems, in many shipments and storage areas. Is there anything distinctive about this... sapphire?" 

"It pulsates with an inner light, an inner power, I am told it is some times termed as a Soul Gem." 

Jordan pondered that. "Well, I'm usually very good at determining the value of items I uncover. I can say that I am not aware of such a gem." Fustiar began cursing vehemently, but Jordan held up a hand and continued. "I will, however, search through my stock for it, it may well be there." 

Shuddering, Fustiar said, "My unlife is forfeit for it, if I return empty handed. My Master is...cruel beyond reckoning." 

"I will make you the same deal I made the others. I will take inventory of my stock, and in a few days I will contact you or your master with my results. Where can I contact ye?" 

Nodding slowly, Fustiar replied, "There are many places, what is most convenient for ye?" 

"I usually spend my time here on this isle or on Ocllo." Jordan caught himself and turned a serious eye towards the undead knight. "Mind you, I'm telling you this as a business partner, not as a target. Understood, Knight?" 

Fustiar answered, "Of course, of course," giving a skeletal grin all the while. "My Master hath Honor still." 

Glaring, Jordan learned back in his chair. "Aye, that's why I permit you here." Returning to the subject, Fustiar recommended several locations that his master used. "What about Caina or Wintermoor?" Jordan queried. 

Fustiar spat. "Wintermoor. An evil place, but I fear for thy safety there...Orcs and undead abound in both Caina and Wintermoor, but if ye insist.." 

Jordan "Aye, if I agree to visit there, I expect safe travel." 

"A moment." Fustiar began rummaging through his pack, and eventually removing a dark kryss. Handing it to Jordan, he said, "Bear this when you pass into Caina. It is marked by Oblivion's Hand. Wield it, and none shall slay ye." 

Jordan stood and handled the kryss with expert ease. Smiling, he commented, "You've done your homework." 

"Indeed," said the warrior, giving yet another skeletal grin. "I was also told to try to purchase any other artifacts you would sell, or try to obtain thy services for an excavation. The site be on the Isle of Fire, ruins of an old monastery of sorts. I have few details, My Master shall speak to ye of it, when you meet him." 

Jordan nodded. "That can be arranged, although right now I have nothing major in my stores. As for the excavation, I'd like that. For now, the agreement is only that I will travel to Caina in a few days. If your men assault me, I will leave and the bargain is off. If someone is not present when I arrive, I will leave a way to contact me. Agreed?" 

"Splendid. It is done then." Fustiar put his helm back on. 

"I look forward to doing business, Knight," Jordan said as he ushered the knight towards the front gates. 

"As does my Master. May you walk in Infinite Darkness, human." 

"I'm sure he does. Safe travels." 

Once out in the desert sun, the Death Knight quickly faded into nothing. For the second time, Jordan found himself standing there, smiling. Is there one gem or two? If there's only one, who is on the right trail? Either way, he stood a chance to make a great profit from the dealings of this day. Jordan took out his keys, and locked up his front gates for the evening. 

Published: July 2000
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
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