Something has been leading you here for days, a pull on your very soul, this... strange shop in a strange land....
Suddenly, from behind a beaded curtain, bursts one of the strangest men you have ever seen. Tall and broad shouldered, but with a large mound on his back, obscured by a voluminous cloak that glimmers deep blue and is impossible to focus your vision on. His face is a mess of acne marks that are almost too regular in pattern.
"Hail Adventurer! I see from your gear and scars that you are a veteran! Led here by forces outside your understanding? Yes, it has been happening quite a bit lately..... Ever since these arrived actually...."
*He gestures to a long wooden and glass display case, filled with strange metal relics in snug fitted boxes. Instantly, you know this is why you were brought here*
"Very curious items, I'll admit. Some seem to work better for certain people than others and I couldn't tell you why, other than the spirit bonded to them maybe doesn't like the wielder”, the man says casually, but with a glint in his eye, knowing you’re hooked.
"Spirit?" you ask cautiously, previous run-ins with the undead have been less than comfortable......
"Yes, spirits of great dragons that once roamed these lands, attracted to the rare and powerful metals and the lure of influencing our world once more,” explains the man in an almost amused and unsettling way.
*There are three distinct styles and more colors than you could first take in at a glance, they almost pulsate with power*
"You have guessed right, it is indeed these that I seek”, you intone in your grimmest, most serious tone, knowing there must be more to this exchange than meets the eye.
"But surely not all of them! No... It would take a true hero of legend to handle that power, and besides, I don't think all the dragons get along. Nevertheless! We can find you a suitable set."
*From nowhere, he produces and dons a large multi-lensed set of spectacles with dozens of levers and dials. Looking you up and down, while making slight adjustments to the knobs, he then looks to the case of relics and makes his choices. Before you lays four small boxes of polyhedral metal blocks. Each surface is patterned after the scales of a dragon, with a centered rune. Beside them, he places a luxurious hexagonal tray*
"Cast the relics and let the runes decide”, he commands.
*You tip the first set into your hand and are mesmerized by the beautiful craftsmanship, of the solid heavy feel, larger then similar items you had seen in the past. You give a vigorous shake and throw them into the tray. Pain shoots through your skull as the lowest rune possible is shown on each face.
Quickly the man tucks the set away and the pain subsides*
"Not those, obviously", he says, unbothered
*Taking your hand, he dumps another set in before your stunned mind can recover, and they limply drop from your hand into the tray. A warmth spreads through you, as does a clarity. You see the relics have fallen so the runes show a pattern commonly associated with luck in your home village. The man nods slowly. He boxes that set back up and looks at you seriously.*
"For most mortals, carrying one of these sets would be too much, but the results of your last roll make me wonder.... Dare you try again?"
*With confidence flowing from an unknown source, you grab the third box, pour them into your hand, and cast them into the tray. Power washes over you as they all land showing their highest face value. You notice for the first time, these have a tighter scale pattern highlighted by a rich, red enamel and bold runes. Also for the first time, you notice the man get excited as he once again boxes up the relics and places them on top of the last set. Then, without a word, he pushes the last set to you. Reverently, you unbox them , noticing that although they appear similar to the first two sets, they are significantly lighter. Pure silver sings as they clang together in your hand. You realize they are hollow, and the runes exist in the negative space of forged metal sides. Instinct guides you to release the tiny metal cages. A flash and crackle of energy obscures your vision. Slowly, as the world comes back into focus, you see all seven relics have landed to balance impossibly on a corner.*
"Well, that’s about as clear of a sign as you get with these things”, the man says,in slight awe.
*One last time, he boxes up the dice and wraps them in a bit of leather tied with twine*
"So, what do you have to barter?"
*After what seems like every buckle, button, and bobble on your person was weighed, measured and valued, you stumble into the sunlight clutching your prize. In the end, the price was more than fair.*
"But what is fair for items of this beauty and power?”, you ask yourself.
*Turning, you find the shop gone, and rolling hills extending as far as the eye can see. Spinning again, the bustling midsized city you have traveled weeks to find is replaced by more hills. You stand alone on a deserted road*
"What was the name of the city again?"
*As if from inside your head comes a voice you instinctively know emanates from your new bundle of treasure*
"So fleshling... Here is your task...." *Followed by the laughing of two slightly fainter voices......*
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