Shock and worry are clear across the faces of Maelstrom’s court as the fire giant king steps forward, his iron-shod boots ringing across the stone floor. “I have confirmed it, your Majesty. The Turmish woman has found the Iltkazar Scepter. If it pleases you, I can dispatch the Guard to take it from her.”
“Lord Mephyr! I hardly think my father needs to assassinate someone. We could just try speaking with her.”
With a mixture of mirth and pride playing at the corners of his mouth, Hekaton considers his daughter. She is young but has already persevered through such trials. When it is truly her time to rule once again, she will bring honor to the crown. “And what would you have us do, Serissa?”
“Why, we try talking with her. Invite her to Court. Perhaps she could be convinced to trade the scepter to us, or she may even consider taking a position at Court here in Maelstrom, where the scepter might be kept safely close.”
“A wise and reasonable suggestion. Make it so, Lord Mephyr.” Fighting a snarl, the fire giant king nods stiffly and turns away.
Watching the fire giant angrily leave, Hekaton whispers quietly, “Someday, if you wish to rule again, my daughter, you will need to temper your wisdom with more honeyed words.”
The jackal-headed fiend adjusted the pince-nez balanced upon its snout, inspecting the arcane circle in which it was bound. Passable work, though uninspired. The purple-robed man’s growing impatience was a mask for his nervousness. Dragging this out might be entertaining.
“Can you do it?” Ehharde demanded.
“I can, but you understand that in order to create the spell, I will already need to possess the item.” The fiend cocked its head quizzically.
“It is being acquired as we speak and will be delivered shortly. So, you agree to the terms?”
The challenge had piqued his interest. The terms were not especially good, and the human was annoying. But to succeed in this, it would be the stuff of legend.
“I agree. You may release me.”
Ehharde paused, looking at the fiend but seeing no deceit, and drug the toe of his boot across the circle.
The fires in the sockets of Szass Tam’s withered skull flared with eagerness, reflecting in the knight’s mirror-bright plate mail. “The time has come. Knight Commander Sharpblade, deploy your team. Bring me my prize.”
“All the pieces are set?”
“Yes Master. All three have moved as you predicted. The game will play out exactly as expected.”
“Overconfidence is just as much our enemy as the Regent. Send a message to our friend to be prepared for when the adventurers intervene, and then prepare for our journey to Waterdeep.”
“Yes, my Master. As you say Master.”