Jordan Cromwell rubbed his eyes wearily
as he walked home from the docks. The people of Ocllo spent
their time near the bank,which made the Public Library there
a perfect place for him to do his research. However, time
slips away within those shelves, and he had spent more time
there than he had intended. Distracted, he didn't notice the
pair of soldiers guarding his door until he had climbed his
Curious, he greeted them. "I don't recall ordering guards."
"I am Darkrider from the town of Yew," the younger
guard said. He hadthe determined air of the inexperienced.
"You are a long way from the mainland, sir. What brings
you to mydoor?"
The other soldier identified himself as Private Dunedain of
the Yew Militia."Captain Sunwolf called us in. We received
word that NCR had been skulkingabout." At Jordan's blank
stare, he continued. "Nasty fellows. A cultof infernal
Jordan thought a moment, then said, "I have many dealings,
but I don'trecall those fellows."
"Sir, it seem the people art looking for a gem, and believe
it may behither. The people art enemies of the town of Yew,
and all who tread in yonlight."
"I must admit I often have shipments of gems. Why do
you seek to stop thesepeople from transacting with me?"
Dunedain bristled. "This group wishes to supply a special
gem to an evilmage for a dark ceremony that may have something
to do with a demon."
Jordan pondered that before responding. "Interesting.
Well, although it'snone of your business, I can tell ye I've
had no unusual offers for gempurchases."
"I do not believe the knaves wouldst offer to 'purchase'
it in the usualmanner, but wouldst seek to 'take' what the
Chuckling, Jordan withdrew his key and unlocked his gate.
"I've dealt withpetty thieves before. Rarely has any
shipment of mine been stolen. Of coursethere was that Westmark
affair..." Trailing off, he sighed. "But Iappreciate
the fact that you two traveled so far. Care to come in?
Both men could not hide their curiosity, and quickly agreed.
Escorting the twoguards inside to the dining room, Jordan
frowned. "The place is a mess, I'mafraid. Ever since
that blasted facet gate happened, furniture keeps appearinghere."
Darkrider wandered away, looking at the various relics. Dunedain
briefly lookedaround. "I have never been hither before.
A sumptuous abode." Thesoldier quickly returned to business.
"I be not sure of the exact nature ofyon gem the knaves
seek. There art eight total. We believe the knaves have foundfive
of them already."
Jordan sat at his table, fiddling with an empty wine glass.
"I have many,in various shipments and storage areas.
I supposedly have one they are lookingfor?"
Dunedain nodded. "We received a tip to that effect. Sunwolf
suggested weshould try to maintain a presence here to keep
an eye on the cult'sactivities."
"That's acceptable. However," Jordan pointed a finger
towards themilitiaman, "I give you a warning. Any guest
of my house is under myprotection. You will not assault anyone
that is here on my invitation."
Dunedain stood straight and proud. "We wouldst not assault
anyoneindiscriminately. It be not our way. But shouldst thou
find thyself assailed, wewouldst gladly come to thine aid."
Relaxing in his chair again, Jordan continued. "My thanks
sir. I may takeyou up on that. Now, tell me more about this
"I truly knowest little mineself. A while back a strange
imp appeared at abattle between Yew and NCR, asking after
gems for his master. It turns out hismaster be an evil mage.
Apparently seeking yon gems for a dark ritual involvinga demon,
perhaps to free the demon from some prison."
"Sounds rather.... valuable."
"If you would allow me to summon a friend from Rivendell,
who knows muchmore than I. She has been actively seeking the
gems." Darkrider appeared inthe archway to the room.
"Pray thee forgive mine young friend. Dark?"
"Yes sir?" responded Darkrider, snapping to attention.
"It be not polite to roam another's abode," Dunedain
Sulking a bit, Darkrider saluted. "Yes sir."
Jordan interrupted. "Nay, not a problem. I should be
more of a host. Summonyour friend, and I will show you around
until she arrives." The three ofthem roamed the house,
discussing various sites, until a young lady strolledthrough
the front gates. Dunedain introduced Jordan to Lady Molly
of Rivendell,and they returned to the dining room. The foursome
chatted lightly, as strangerstrying to learn about each other
"Now," Jordan addressed Molly, "these two fine
guardsmen tell meyou have some information to give me?"
Molly grew serious. "Actually, I wish to ask you a few
questions as well.
Jordan smirked. "As ye wish."
Smiling, Molly began the questioning. "I understand you
have something thatI am searching for, and was wondering if
you would be willing to part withit."
"I am a merchant, m'lady," Jordan sighed. He quickly
flashed a devioussmile. "I have many things people desire.
You'll have to be morespecific."
"Aye," she agreed. "I am searching for a gem.
A lovely butpowerful gem."
Jordan turned to Dunedain. "I thought you said some evil
thieves werelooking for it, sir? She hardly looks the type."
Dunedain coughed. "Well those people art not the only
ones. Of course Ididst not mean Molly was an evil scallywag."
Laughing, Jordan returned his attention to Molly. "Ah,
so you wish to keepit from them?" Molly nodded, overcoming
her own laughter. "Well, as Iwas telling Dunedain, I
have not received any unusual requests for a gem."
Molly leaned forward. "That is good news. The question
now would be ‘Doyou own one?’"
The sound of bone and armor grinding together came down the
hallway. Spinning,Molly turned to see a Death Knight standing
in the archway, sword in hand. Achill began to fill the room
as the militiamen put themselves between the undeadwarrior
and their host. Their hands gripped their weapons tightly
as thecreature hissed.
"Ahh, OES arrives." Dunedain scowled in anger, then
caught Darkrider'shand as the other began to draw his weapon.
"Stay thy hand."
"Greetings, mortals. I am Fustiar."
Molly recovered her composure, and tried to look the creature
in its eyes."May we help you?"
Fustiar gave a skeletal grin. "Perhaps.."
Jordan had watched all this from where he sat, but raised
his eyebrows atMolly's words. Standing, he stepped in front
of her and stared at the warrior."This is my home, Molly.
I will greet my visitors."
Molly put a hand on Jordan's arm, and whispered in his ear.
"These are theones who seek to harm you." Jordan
either did not hear her or did notreact. It seemed the room
was empty except for him and the undead knight.
"Ah, the famed mortal, Jordan Cromwell.." The words
rattled out of thehelmet. "I hath been searching for
you, for quite a while.."
"I don't know you, Knight, but I've dealt with your kind
in the past. Whatis it you seek?"
A hollow laugh rang out from the thing's helm, as it put away
its weapon."You know full well, I would think."
Jordan indicated the others in the room. "It may well
be what these peoplebefore you seek."
"They are cattle, nothing of merit, relinquish the item
into their hands..and it shall be lost."
Unperturbed, Jordan continued. "Nevertheless, you will
have to wait until Ifinish speaking with them."
The thing nodded. "Very well. Call me when I may have
As Fustiar noisily left the room, Jordan looked around at
the others."Please, return to your seats. The undead
must be handled properly, butthey can be handled." The
others agreed, and sat back down as the desertwarmth returned
to the room.
Apologetic, Molly said. "I only wished to protect you.
I apologize for myboldness."
"I have already offered our assistance shouldst he be
assailed,Molly," Dunedain interjected.
Jordan smiled and waved it away. "Understood. I have
many businesspartners, some less... worldly... than others.
Now, you were saying?"
"Well the question would be, do you have such a gem?"
"I might. I honestly don't know." Jordan shrugged.
"What does itlook like?"
"It is yellow in color."
"Amber?" Jordan asked. “It’s the only yellow stone.
Citrine isyellow-orange as well.”
"I am not sure of the type. Perhaps a Citrine. Amber
is too large, and Iknow it’s a small stone."
Jordan's forehead creased as he thought. "Anything else
"Nay it looks to be an ordinary gem, but is most clear
"Hrm, that will complicate matters." Jordan thought
for a moment more."I'll tell you what I will do. I will
check my shipments and storage areasfor all gems matching
what you've said. Is there a place I can contactyou?"
The two of them agreed to meet at the Hungry Halfling tavern
in a few days.Business concluded, Jordan ushered his guests
toward the door. "Iappreciate you bringing the gem's
value to my attention, my lady."
Looking back down the hall towards the shadows, Dunedain stated,
"I praysir that thou wouldst not let such an item fall
into the wrong hands."
"Can you tell me what you will require for us to attain
it if you shouldfind it?" Molly asked?
Jordan smiled. "We will discuss price once I take stock."
Nodding in agreement, Molly stepped outside. "I thank
thee for youassistance, and be wary of your next visitor.
He is evil. If you wish I will askthese men to stay with you
until he leaves."
Shaking his head, Jordan replied. "Nay, that is not necessary.
Thank ye forthe warning, but he will behave here."
Saying farewell, Jordan watched the three descend his stairway.
He stood there amoment, in dusk's light, absorbing what had
just occurred. Long days spent inresearch looking for relics,
and some things just fall into your lap. Hisinstincts were
telling him there was more to this that had been revealed
yet.Hearing metal shift behind him, it was time to find out
"Now Knight, what can I do for you?"
From the Town Cryer - The Journal of Ultima Online,