All in a Night’s Work

Nicholas Tamark

UP: Atlantic

    The shifting of bone and armor behind himbrought Jordan Cromwell out of his thoughts. Turning from the departing figuresof 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 impressiveartifacts within these walls... quite impressive." He slowly took off hishelm, revealing his ghastly visage.

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

"I will be brief, I sense you hath things to accomplish. The Lich Lord andthe 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, myMaster 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 othersbefore you, I have many gems, in many shipments and storage areas. Is thereanything distinctive about this... sapphire?"

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

Jordan pondered that. "Well, I'm usually very good at determining the valueof items I uncover. I can say that I am not aware of such a gem." Fustiarbegan 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 emptyhanded. My Master is...cruel beyond reckoning."

"I will make you the same deal I made the others. I will take inventory ofmy 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 mostconvenient for ye?"

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

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

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

Fustiar spat. "Wintermoor. An evil place, but I fear for thy safetythere...Orcs and undead abound in both Caina and Wintermoor, but if yeinsist.."

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

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

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. "Iwas also told to try to purchase any other artifacts you would sell, or try toobtain thy services for an excavation. The site be on the Isle of Fire, ruins ofan old monastery of sorts. I have few details, My Master shall speak to ye ofit, when you meet him."

Jordan nodded. "That can be arranged, although right now I have nothingmajor in my stores. As for the excavation, I'd like that. For now, the agreementis only that I will travel to Caina in a few days. If your men assault me, Iwill leave and the bargain is off. If someone is not present when I arrive, Iwill 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 usheredthe 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 thesecond time, Jordan found himself standing there, smiling. Is there one gem ortwo? If there's only one, who is on the right trail? Either way, he stood achance to make a great profit from the dealings of this day. Jordan took out hiskeys, and locked up his front gates for the evening.

From the Town Cryer - The Journal of Ultima Online, Wednesday, July 19th 2000