“Grand Master”, began Noveticus, “why was I not inform…”
“My apologizes Master Noveticus”, interrupted the young and dashing Callowan , “I sent a runner to inform you but obviously did not get the message in a timely fashion. Perhaps they missed while you were performing your errands…”
“Indeed.”, Noveticus repying curtly. His eyes beam at the insolent Garrick seated next to Callowan. “But I am curious as to why this violator of Guild Law is sitting here amongst us when he should be rotting in his appropriate chambers.”
The Grand Master Grav clear his throat, and in a deep tone of authory simply said,
The Grand Master was stock and thinned hair but carried an impressive force of authority. His imposing jeweled finger gestured to the only empty seat around the table. Noveticus took the seat in silence and surveyed the group around him. Amongst the Guild members were Arrik the Research & Records Officer, Awad the Watchmaster , Carski The Logistics Officer, Peedenn the Operations Master, Prob the Bookkeeping & Financial Officer and Smit the Housemaster (who look about as old as the Grand Master himself). Seated also around the table was of course Callowan who oversaw special operations for the Guild. And the new addition, (though not new to the Guild) was the crusty thief Garrick grinning from ear to ear.
Grav turned to Callowan and waved his hand for the young officer to continue.
“As I indicated, for the past year the supply of raw and fine cut emeralds in the city have slowed to the point of a high market rate for the scarce minerals. Our intelligence reports have found no market force responsible for the decline of supply. Nor have our agents account for the scarcity in blackmarket for the gems.”
Carski, a thin white hair man spoke with his nasal breathy voice, “And what is the significance of this? Why should the Guild be concern?
Peedenn, a balding plump man in his forties, turned to his fellow officer with a allure if contempt at a such a stupid question, “Basically, the Guild has been cut out of the Emerald Market. We are aware that their is a movement in the smuggling of emeralds but we have no control of that movement nor are we profiting from the inflated price!”
“And why is that.” asked the Grand master who’s stern eye beamed at Noveticus and Calloway at the same time. Though neither seemed to be affected by it.
“We suspect”, continued Callowan, “the emeralds are being transfered through the Floating market in the Outsiders Quarter. That is the only blackmarket we have not controlled for over a hundred years. “
Carski quickly countered the young officer, “Surly we have agents in that district that can—!”
Noveticus, who now understood what the meeting was about interrupted, “The agents we have sent to that district have usually end up dead or thrown out by one or more of he House that control the area. The Master of the Outsider Quarter has decreed that the Guild is banned from his district. Sending any more experienced agents would certainly be suicide.”
“Then what do you recommend?” asked the Grand Master.
“I suggest we employ others outside of our organization to find out who is controlling the flow of the emeralds”, Replied Callowan, “I believe we may have such a prospect that you are all familiar with. I of course reefer to Gar Bugbucket.”
A sound of disapproval murmurs amongst the group.
“Look boys”, begins Garrick, “you got yourselves a wee bit of a problem. But me boy Gar knows his stuff. And with the sister and Milo, he’s got all of his bases covered to get into the quarter and find that information out for you.”
“But can we trust this Gar?” retorted Carski, “After all, he did work for Mistress Deliha?”
“No doubt where he received his silver tongue”, replied noveticus. “Do we want to trust an important mission with such a patheic specimen of restraint?”
“Don’t put Gar on the side”, Garrick replied, “He and his group have broken into the Cliffdweller Bank; a feat that not a single one here at this table has even tried!”
“Precisely why I agree that he is the right man for the job”, chimed Callowan, “I have already sent a secondary force to retrieve them. His involvement wit the Beezal Mine issue was most fortunate of coincidence.”
“This no mere mercenary we are talking about”, countered Noveticus. “How do you know he will cooperate?”
“Look”, started the old thief, ” I think Gar should know the truth about his father. That everything that’s been going on, it’s all realted. Once he figures out we are on the same team he will join us. Maybe not for the the same reasons.”
“And the elf ?”, asked Noverticus bitterly, “She is a member of the Druid Circle. Where do her loyalties lie?”
“Ah, Rowen is like a big sister to to him; she’ll go with him to keep him out of trouble!”
“And what of the dwarf and the halfling?” questioned Carski.
This time it was Peedenn with an endorsement, “The dwarf is the only sensible one amongst them. Money is his language and I think we can come to some agreement.”
Callowan then added, “The halfling is bit of an enigma. We know he has a brother in the Guild. But he left the city more than five years ago. Perhaps assisting him in finding out the fate of his brother would be an incentive along of course with some monetary gain.”
Hiring outside the guild is dangerous, countered Smit, Who had been silent all this time. “How do we know our own intrested will be served?”
Callowan answered, “My officer in the field, Alanis, has proven to be resourceful and loyal. He is well aware his importance in the Guild and will see to it that our interests are secure. He will of course have the backing of the Tracker and the swordsman.
“Swordsamn?” asked The Grand Master.
Award the Watchmster answered, “That silent one that was working with the Quartemaster, he was recruited from one of the Eastward trade ships.”
“And his incentive?” asked Carski.
“Unknown,” Callowan answered, “however he had earned passage out of his homeland by offering his loyalty to the Captain of the vessel. The Captain tranfered that to the Quartermaster and ultimately to my task force.”
“Can he be trusted?” asked The Grandmaster.
“He is honored bound to fulfill his contract though I suspect he is here for another reason of which I do not know,”.Callowan reassured.
“So Callowan,” began the Grand master, “on the recommendation of a violator of Guild, you will have recruited a manipulative gnome, a nature loving elf, a shadowy halfling, a arrogant dwarf, a silent swordsman, and one actual Guild member we can trust to take on an important mission into the dangerous Outsiders Quarter in hopes they can enligten the Guild on who is smuggling emeralds through the city without our control?”
“Yes.” the young officer relpied.
“Then by Jackdawl,” chortled the Grandmaster, “He who pays the piper calls the tune. make it so.”