in Delzimmer, Part 6
My last look at Delzimmer --
for now -- will conclude with a summation of the current rumors in the
city concerning the citizen Antholo Kraul. Hitherto ignored by most Delzmaer
and all the rest of Faerûn, he's shot to prominence very recently for
an unexpected reason.
- Kraul is a short, stout, balding and
rather nondescript man (a CN male human Rog2, I believe) who sells maps
and charts from his shop front, Antholo's All the Realms, on Riuntle
Street. Said wares are plain, clear, and fairly accurate -- if unlovely
and greatly lacking in detail -- copies of the trade charts used in
Tharsult and the Tashalar and the cities of Calimshan (which are themselves
usually updated copies of more famous and authoritative originals kept
at Candlekeep and divers other monasteries and royal libraries). In
short, Kraul's maps would never be snapped up as wall-decorations for
a grand house, but sell steadily for practical use at prices ranging
from 25 to 200 gp, depending on size, subject, and date of survey.
This state of affairs makes Kraul
a useful member of the Delzmaer mercantile scene, but no man of influence
or public importance. What has brought him rapt recent attention is
his death -- or rather, his deaths.
Some months back, Kraul was messily
and bloodily killed in Paroind Street when one of the notorious building
collapses occurred -- and most of the west front of a three-story, balconied
house fell on him and several other passersby. His body was crushed,
but not his head, and some acquaintances he'd been walking and talking
with survived the tragedy, so there was no doubt of his identity or
Such is the daily work of deities
-- but what they or some fell mortal magic do far less often was what
followed: Kraul was burned on a temple pyre in the usual Delzmaer manner
-- only to reappear, hale and whole, at his shop some days later. This
caused a stir (especially among three lady cousins, who'd arrived at
his shop and home to squabble over the division of his goods), but most
folk assumed some mistake had been made in Paroind Street and Kraul
had been elsewhere on business, perhaps buying maps from temporary halfling
encampments south of Delzimmer (a notorious source of shady wares).
Business resumed at Antholo's All
the Realms, and continued in the normal manner for a tenday -- whereupon
Kraul was slain a second time by knife-wielding thieves rushing down
Lhavarild Street to escape from a robbery gone bad at Istryn's Silks.
His cousins identified him before a kala this time -- but despite another
pyre and a nagra sent to witness his bones blackening on it, Antholo
Kraul reappeared at his shop three days later. He was slain that same
night, at the hands of Srandro Chree, a killer-for-coins (presumed to
have been hired by one of Kraul's cousins), but was seen again the next
evening drinking at the Reaching Hand tavern.
His drinking companions there were
the usual small circle of Riuntle Street merchants of middling fortunes
who -- though they'd all heard of Kraul's deaths by then, and were both
curious and alert for an impostor -- all agree that they spoke to the
man himself, and that he seemed quieter than usual, a little sad, and
dismissive of queries concerning his passings.
Thereafter closely watched by the
nagra under orders from three puzzled kala (who even hired a traveling
wizard to make sure that the Antholo Kraul they were now looking at
wasn't something else wearing Kraul's shape), the merchant survived
being nearly run over by a racing cart (the nagra have their suspicions
as to the cousins' involvement with its driver, but can prove nothing)
and being felled by a drunken outlander in a tavern brawl -- but died
again seven days later when a large urn of slael-fall flowers toppled
"accidentally" from his own balcony when he returned home.
A watching nagra arrested a cousin seen leaving the balcony, and confirmed
Kraul's death. Kala ordered the body brought to a nagra house rather
than to a temple pyre. It rotted for some days, but then -- in the presence
of several nagra -- Kraul's remains simply faded away. Neighbors report
that the bloodstain before his doors slowly vanished at about the same
time -- and some four days later, Antholo Kraul was seen again walking
up the street in the morning to open his shop, as he always does.
Thus far, nagra have failed to get
any clear answers from the man as to what's going on, and the kala are
said to be hotly debating how far their powers run. Some among them
say they should be seeking to hire an archmage to determine if Delzimmer
stands endangered by whatever is bringing Kraul repeatedly back to life.
Many Delzmaer are more afraid of
the inevitable group of Red Wizards and other beings of power who will
probably soon descend on Delzimmer to try to seize the raising magic
that rides Antholo Kraul and take it for their own. Who knows who they'll
slay -- or magically transform and enslave, as crawling worms or worse
-- in the process?
the previous Elminster Speaks
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