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A Deal with the Daemon
It was during one of his visits to Rivendell that the daemon Nostur’yl first heard the name Merrick. Merrick, who was perhaps a strong leader over his people but one who would have remained insignificant to Nostur’yl, had he not been in a most generous mood when approached on the matter. As such he listened to the request for help from the creature before him and a plan grew in his mind. 

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

Within the backroom of the Hungry Halfling tavern, Nostur’yl spoke to the mayor saying, “Regardless of what you might believe, I have never lied to any here in this realm, a few of mine own kind perhaps, but never in this realm. As such I propose a bargain to you and yours. Release Merrick of all his past crimes 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 would forget all of Merrick’s previous crimes and in return the daemon would depart from the town. Although it was quite a tempting offer to Aleph, he was reluctant to give in and requested time to hold a vote of sorts with the citizens of the town. Nostur’yl consented and agreed to return in one day’s time to hear the answer.

Unknown to the daemon, members of that very same town had plans of their own regarding 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 not so distant past, as had the daemon. What they also had found was a barrier erected by the Oracle, which held the gemstone in place and kept the daemon from taking hold of it. 

After the voting had been completed and a decision reached, a few members left the small town resting outside Britain and made their way to Magincia. Whether from a lack of trust in the Oracle’s powers or from the desire to claim the amethyst for their own, the group made their way to the gemstone. A plan was formed and quickly implemented, breaking the barrier and sealing the amethyst within a golden necklace. Satisfied with their work, the small group returned to Rivendell where they secured the amethyst necklace at the Hungry Halfling tavern. 

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

Again the terms of the contract were discussed between Aleph and Nostur’yl, as the mayor stated his interpretation rather then the original agreement. “We absolve 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 of many he finally agreed saying, “That is a new bargain, but that I will agree to as well.” 

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

Cloaked in the illusion of human form, the daemon smiled far more then one who was about to be banished from a town should and said, “There is one further problem 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 of the bargain, must leave with mine self, never to return, as it is a part of mine being. Lest you be shown to be a liar mayor, you must as part of our bargain hand over the amethyst.” 

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

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

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

“I bring news. I demanded the gem be handed to me to be returned to you, but the gem was taken,” Aleph half bluffed, for while the gem had indeed been taken, Nostur’yl could feel its presence and knew who held it. Knew it was held 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 best to play this out. He finally spoke, more to the crowd then Aleph who stood before him, “That is all well and good mayor. However, you have already absolved Merrick of his crimes, yet cannot complete the contract.”

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

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