Bearing Mostly on Fools' Ebony and Temples
Same place, same Inn, A bottle or two later.
Enter Prologue, the Adventurer, and Lheben
Prologue: Little has occured so far in
our comedic drama. The Adventurer, our Dark Elf rascal, has
bought drinks for two priests of Akatosh. All have drunk considerably.
One of the priests has rushed off in pursuit of his lamp girl.
And, unless I've forgotten something or something happened
when I was paying attention to something else, that's a complete
synopsis of Part the Oneth. Ah, here come two more priests.
Humble Prologue must depart.
(Enter Raic and Stete)
Raic: Evening Lheban! Evening stranger.
My fellow priest here is Stete, I am Raic. We are honored
to serve Julianos.
Adventurer: What is this, anyway - Priests
night out? And ... I thought that your Temples - Akatosh,
Julianos, the rest ... I thought them all cut-throat competitors.
In theology and gold, if you will forgive my bluntness. Yet
you all seem the best of friends ..? Come to think of it,
didn't I have words with Stete earlier, you said you were
of the Temple of Stendarr?
Raic: A common misconception, friend ...
Lheban: ... but one that we ... encourage
Raic: Really, we all work together closely,
move between the Temples as needs
Lheban: ... exchange information ...
Raic: ... share funds ...
Stete: ... swap our sisters ...
(Lheben kicks Stete) (Enter Prologue)
Prologue: Sorry to interrupt the merry
slapstick, but I neglected to mention earlier that the Fools'
Gold saga -- if that is the word -- contains gratuitous reference
to priestly misdeeds and sexual excess. I hope those of you
in the audience of peevish, prudish, sullen, frumpy, or grumpy
demeanors are not offended. Now then, on with the entertainment.
Lheban: ... and all that ...
Raic: But it helps in our ... holy work,
if we are perceived as separate and, uh, competitive...
Lheban: Mind you, there are one or two,
er ... religious organizations ... well,
sort of ... that we do not have anything to do with ...
Raic: Nothing at all, nothing at all ...
animals, just animals ...
Adventurer: Such as ..?
Lheban: Weeell -- the Dark Brotherhood
for one ... nasty bunch of thugs ... and then there's the
Afterdark Society ...
(aside to Raic)
This fellow, seems a decent sort of chap
... seems to know something about Mages and Fools' Ebony ...
Raic: (aside to Lheban) Really now ...
(to all) Hey fellow, have another bottle
-- this will bless you throat. My, my, yes indeed it will...
Adventurer: Thanks Raic, don't mind a bit
Lheban: But let me continue -- I was explaining
about this Fools' Ebony to you ...
Raic: Yes, Fools' Ebony ...
Lheban: Well. Fools' Ebony now. Well, you
know about ordinary Ebony, how it's rare, only some dwarven
clans dig it and sell it. And not too many, these days and
Stete: How's that popular song go ..?
(singing) Where have all the
Old Dwarves gone, Long time ago ...
(Lheben throws Innkeep at Stete) (Raic breaks
chair on Innkeep and Stete) (Innkeep loses consciousness)
Lheban: There's a pile of real ebony up
in the Wrothgarians somewhere north, I hear tell. You know
how that dullish black ebony gets worked over by Mages, by
some skilled armorers, made into all kinds of potent weapons,
amulets, belts, what have you. All fetch a huge price, when
you can find any. And how the best was made long ago, by those
old dwarves ...
(Stete rises to his feet) (Lheban kicks Stete
back down) (The Adventurer loosens his tunic)
Lheban: Oh my! Oh, my apologies, friend,
Sir! I see you have -- what's that? An ebony torc? Oh my,
and an ebony katana! Oh My! Oh My, My! So, of course, you
know all that, sir.
Adventurer: Oh, that's all right, you didn't
know. Here, have another bottle ...
Lheban: Many thanks, kind Sir. Well, then
you know how every adventurer, even snotty kids, all the dungeon-delvers,
are always looking for ebony artifacts, weapons, whatnot.
But what you may not know, some of the more experienced delvers
hunt for raw ebony lodes, piles, dwarven leavings. That stuff,
the raw ebony, is far more valuable.
Adventurer: The raw unshaped material that
provides work ... and power ... for so few? Apparently just
loaded with negative magicka?
Raic: Right, right!
Lheban: Yes, right so! Quite so! Well,
Fools' Ebony now. Looks just about like the real raw stuff.
Runs in veins in the deep rocks. Feels the same, smells almost
the same. But the big difference: it's not real ebony. No
power at all. If you pick some up, it gets you hands a bit
dirty. Softer too, by all accounts. But sort of shiny too.
But who can tell all that, deep in some old mine, maybe a
ghoul breathing down your neck! So it's just grab and run,
I guess, down in those nasty holes. So the fools, the kids,
the crazy delvers, are always hauling up a bag, a sack, of
Fools' Ebony. And getting laughed at by the merchants, dealers,
mages, us ... hence the Fools' part. Stuff just gets thrown
into the Bay ...
Adventurer: Yeah, that's sort of what I
... er ... heard from some Mages. But I heard something else,
Lheban: And just what was that, friend
... if you want to tell us, of course ... Sir.
Adventurer: Oh, of course! I think that
we can come to ... er ... an arrangement?
Lheban and Raic (Together): Certainly,
Adventurer: So, yeah, so these mages --
Shub and Shub, they are always called Shub, aren't they? --
anyway, these old guys were saying how this Fools' Ebony can
burn. Not magically, but like an ordinary piece of wood. But
the flame lasts far longer, gives off lots more heat, makes
no smoke to speak of, no noise ... very interesting ... Mages
were saying as how the alchemists want it, to heat the retorts
and flasks ... How the Mages Guild wants it, to make and sell
... er ... fake amulets and the like ... rotten trick that!
And especially the Armorers, they want it bad, for their forges,
I guess. And the Alchemists, for their alembics ...
Lheban: Precisely my information! Now...
gets cold up here in the winter, doesn't it? And everyone
is cutting down all those trees, making siege engines, boats,
all that evil war machinery! All those rich royals and merchants
got to heat their great big piles of homes. So their Contessas
can run around in next to nothing, instead of furs...
Stete: ... just like my sister ...
(Lheben bites Stete's arm) (Stete shreiks
and falls unconscious)
Adventurer: All those armorers got to keep
their hearths and furnaces running...
Lheban: ... All the Mages got to keep their
familiars warm ...
Raic: ... All those royals got to keep
the contessas running ...
Lheban: ... All those peasants got to keep
their animals warm ...
Adventurer: And To Sheogorath with the
wife and kids, right? Ha! And, I guess, its sort of hard for
you Priests to give blessings and cures, when your fingers
are all cold and stiff ..? Makes getting corks out a tad hard,
to say nothing of opening those little twists of parchment
Raic: You speak truly, indeed!
Lheban: A man of wisdom, indeed! Yes!
Adventurer: So, where do we find this Fools'
Ebony -- in quantity?
Lheban: You put your finger (you have six,
I note -- oh, excuse me, Sir) on the crux of the matter. I
have heard rumors, just rumors, mind you, that there are huge
enormous veins of this stuff, at one place on the surface,
far up in the Wrothgarians. Bad, bad place to go. But, if
you can get there and back, cartloads of the stuff!
Adventurer: Thats just what I overheard
from those Mages -- far up there in the Wrothgarians -- orcs,
dragonlings, daedra, Sheogorath only knows what ... Those
Mages seemed to know the spot, though. Mages wanted someone
Raic: You didn't ... talk ... to the Mages.
I mean, you haven't ...
Adventurer: Oh no. They didn't even know
I was there... (aside) Not yet, anyway...
Lheban: Good, good - can't trust those
Mages, you know ... old fossils would turn their own mothers
into sludge-toads, just for a bit of gold! Gold-mad, power-mad,
Mad-mad, the whole rotten lot of them! But then they don't
Raic: Excellent. Seems to me, friend --
or, can we call you partner? Yes? Excellent. Seems tome, partner,
that my brother priests and you should do some digging and
poking around - see if we can get to those veins, those deposits,
Adventurer: Yes indeed, partners! But it
would cost a fair pile of gold to get up there -- weapons,
spells, women, clothing, carts and horses, women, food, potions
... Best go well-prepared, up there.
Lheban: No problem, partner. Our Temples
have ... certain resources, such that if we were guaranteed
... sole access, sole knowledge of the location, then we could
finance someone ... someone with the requisite skills, such
as yourself? Just by happenstance, I am Keeper of the Books
... you see the opportunity?
Adventurer: Oh yes! Oh yes! Well -- lets
split a last bottle, and shake on an agreement?
Lheban: Indeed, let us! We first need information
-- who knows about the site up there, where it is, how to
reach it ... Why don't we meet back here in, say, a week,
to the hour. And see what we can learn, meanwhile?
Raic: We need to find a merchant, too.
Someone who can handle it for us ... warehouses, distribution
Lheban: And keep a shut mouth!
Adventurer: I'll make some inquiries about
merchants ... got a contact or two ... Trouble is -- well,
you know how these things go -- few golds here, few there,
before you know it you've bribed half the town, or so it seems.
Now, as luck would have it, I don't have much -- got swindled
by a wretched Mage, some town south of here, and lost most
of my belongings in a shipwreck ...
Lheban: Ah Yes! You need some ... seed
money as it were.
Raic: (To Lheban) Let me lift old Stete's
purse, he made a lot renting out his sister last week ...
Lheban: Thank you, Raic. Here, about 100
gold -- enough ?
Adventurer: Oh yes, more than enough for
a start, Gentlemen. Good, good, good ... so we have a deal?
Adventurer: Yes! It's agreed. One week!
(Exit Lheban, Raic dragging Stete) (Exit the
Epilogue: Ah, things are happening now,
I doubt it not. Patrons, I request that you recall that this
is a work of fiction created by one of the finest writers
of the asylum, Frincheps, Archprince of All Sumurset. There
is no such thing as Fools' Ebony. Furthermore, Ebony is not
mined as the priests have described the process. Grasp that
please. If you can still enjoy the play as a rude work of
fiction, stay with us for Part the Threeth. If you can't,
farewell. And don't forget to tip the wenches.
And so endeth Part the Twoth
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