You have fond memories of Alexander Verst, an accomplished alchemist, journeyman agent, and loyal friend to you and to the other guild members. You still remember the morning of what was to be his final mission. The half elf swaggered up to you in his petulant but somehow endearing way clasping each of you by the hand saying “brothers, I will be gone but a month’s time, keep the ale cool and the whores warm for me until I return!” With that he was gone, the tinkling of glass vials and alchemist beakers fading with him.
Well, drink beer and warm whores you did, often at the same time. Being senior agents of the prominent Merchant’s Guild had its perks. Sure, it was essentially a glorified desk job. You didn’t raid dungeons. You didn’t fight gnarly monsters. You didn’t rescue fair damsels then plough them till they were bow legged. Not anymore anyway. Nope, you were senior agents, an 8 to 5 gig. Officially your tasks involved “planning and logistics” but in reality you mostly stood around the water cooler looking awesome. You see, in the merchant’s guild there are few agents and thus by nature even fewer senior agents. As such, senior agents have almost a celebrity status among the guild members. And that was you, celebrities in one of the most prominent guilds in the land of Valimar.
Notice I say was.
About two weeks after Verst departed your company his body was found washed up on the banks of one of the tributaries to The Baroness. The official word was that Verst’s body had been so badly decomposed and ravaged by wild beasts that it would be a major blow to the morale of the junior guild members to have an open casket funeral. Thus the proceedings occurred with the casket closed. Verst’s funeral was quite the show; his living will had stipulated the exact ceremony that he wished to have, down to the minutest detail. A band of accomplished minstrels played mournful dirges, while a group of professional mourners set to wailing. The mourners were almost drowned out by the sound coming from a group of whores that had shown up for the service. These were Verst’s preferred lays, or ‘Alexander’s Girls,’ as he liked to call them. It was unclear if their loud sobbing was motivated by the loss of the man or the loss of income. Either way, the prostitutes were kicked out of the funeral when one of them began displaying her ‘wares’ to the funeral guests. The ceremony finally concluded after one last eulogy and one more prancing bard relaying Verst’s valiant deeds and pious nature. Over all the services took a little over 6 hours to wrap up. But that was just the beginning for you.
That night you were called to the guildmaster’s chambers. Guildmaster Bumpous was not a man known to waste. He was short of stature, short of patience, short of words, and short of time. When someone was called to Bumpous’ chamber they were expected to respond immediately. And that is what you did.
Bumpous was in a mood. He scowled over his wine bottle reading glasses as you entered the room. Throwing down a parchment he was reading he stated “We need to be rid of the infernal living will policy; today’s show was a mockery of us all. The local papers will get a hold of this and we’ll be the laughing stock of the 5 guilds!” He turned toward you as if expecting a response, but continued, “This isn’t why I’ve called you up here. There is something you need to know.” He paused for a minute to light a griffin’s claw pipe. “Verst’s body never came back, he wasn’t in that casket. He’s dead, it’s true, but his body is being held in the morgue at Kair Morgal. Not sure why the local authorities won’t release it but they are refusing. I’ve tried everything, bribery, threats, gifts, it’s no use. I need people that I trust to lay eyes on him, I need to know how he died, where he died, and why the Kair Morgal yokels won’t release his body.” He looked at you again. “Verst was on a high priority mission, known only to those who needed to know. He was in communication with me via scrying mirror until 3 days before his body was found. During our correspondence he appeared healthy and did not indicate that there was anything wrong.” Sitting back down at his desk he removed a key from his waistcoat pocket and used it to open a drawer, he pulled out a small mirror. “I’m assuming you remember how to use one of these?” He tosses the scrying mirror to you. “As of now I am reinstating your active status. You leave for Kair Morgal in the morning.”