Lord Westershroud waited patiently, gift in hand. It was not long before her arms snaked around his waist in playful embrace.
"What is so urgent you’d risk seeing me in daylight?” He presented her with the small package her nimble gypsy fingers quickly unraveled.
“I saw this in the market, and was so taken by its beauty I thought of you.”
“You flatterer,” Her smile was coquettish, but quickly melted into awe as she held the silver flower.
“The merchant said it was a forget-me-not but it looks more like a poppy to me.” Carefully she touched its delicately engraved surface, its dark blue center, and attempted to undo the hair clasp upon which it sat. “Here, let me-“
“It’s alright I-” Snick! The flower blossomed into an equally exquisite fan. “Simply amazing. Is that glass on the edge?” Again she began to run her fingers over the surface. “It’s so well cut you would think it was diam-ouch!”
“Poor love, I’m sorry.” Lord Westershroud put the bleeding finger to his lips. “We’ll have that filed down. I’m glad you like it though, you’ve got quite the color in your cheeks.”
“I am not the only one. Can I sit? I’m suddenly not feeling so well.”
The Forget Me Not at first appears to be a silver flower, though the metal is in truth something much more durable. The clasp at the base of the flower appears intended to hold it in a lady’s hair and while it can function as such it also serves as a trigger. Within the center of the flower is a small glass window, which can be extracted to reveal it to be the bottom of a specially designed quartz vial. Pivoting around this vial with great precision allows the petals to extend outward, unsheathing the diamond-edged fan. This fan, while equal in beauty to the flower, is a deadly war fan the edge of which becomes coated in poison from the central vial. An exotic weapon to say the least, the Forget Me Not is the pinnacle of lethal beauty.
The Forget Me Not was created by the dwarf Devorak, though it is a gross oversimplification to say he was another dwarven smith. Devorak’s clan stemmed from a long line of Master Craftsmen, the most highly regarded title among dwarven smiths.
“Gods above, your eye!” Devorak’s calloused hand waved away inquisitive fingers. “This is about your Masterwork isn’t it? I’ve told you that you can share my contract. We can both attain Master Craftsman before your 20th winter, just like the rest of your clan, and your mother will stop-“
“Hestar! You promised that if I told you the truth….” Hestar continued to look at her childhood friend with concern in her eyes, her quavering hand wishing to comfort but arrested in mid-air. “It’ll be gone before your wedding so you can’t complain.”
“Devorak, do you think that because I am getting married I will cease to care about you; that I will forget you?” The hushed vitriolic voice exploded. “You know I made special arrangements to stay in this pit of a workshop with you! I moved the ceremony just so you could come! I would sign over the fucking contract if it was not the contingency of my own happiness! I hope the bitch that gave you life takes it back!”
As pressures mounted Devorak devised a plan. Devorak would claim the Masterwork as his own by virtue of Hestar’s absence, while she would be released from her contractual obligations due to illness. She would recover just in time for the wedding.
“I think it’s coming along beautifully, don’t you? I’m so happy you’re sharing the contract with me.” Devorak smiled weakly at Hestar, handing her a large glass.
“Here, I brought us drinks to celebrate getting the balance perfect.” Hestar smiled as she looked down into her tankard.
“You know those weeks ago… I didn’t mean what I said. Have you told… her?” Devorak took a deep drink.
“No. She wouldn’t accept a joint Masterwork, even if the elder council does. You could say I’ve become very attached to my fingers.” Hestar let out a little chuckle and took a sip.
“You’re bad, I can’t believe you can joke like that.” She looked to her drink. “What is this? It’s like Mardy’s ale but it has a different taste.” She drank again, trying to ascertain the flavor.
“Bit of an off batch I guess. Anyways, I have a plan. I hope it means I will be in one piece at your wedding. I do want what is best for you.” There was a soft thud and clatter as Hestar fell to the floor. “I also want what is best for me.”
The Red Left assassin had given very explicit directions for the application of the delicate poison, which were followed with dwarven rigidity. Dwarven ale, however, is not the same as human ale.
“Devorak of the Ramaden clan, the council of elders has examined this sword and deemed it to be worthy of the title Masterwork and its creator to be a Master Craftsman. Do you accept this title?” The words were slow and ponderous as they left the oldest dwarf in the city. Delicately he presented the sword to Devorak. Holding the hilt it he felt its perfect weight, its careful balance.
“No. I present on behalf of the deceased Hes-”
“Stop! That whore barely took a hammer to that sword before she died! I will not have you ruin the clan-” Springing to her feet the weathered dwarven woman stormed towards her son.
“Master Craftsman Grenda you are asked to remain seated and silent before the elder council.”
“This honor belongs to my clan, not that disease-riddled wench who couldn’t-”
She was certainly dead after the first five cuts, but he had wanted to repay every gash, every bruise, and vainly try to account for the wound that would not heal. Devorak was condemned to exile for the murder of his mother.
“Devorak? Is that… gods. You’re lucky I found you. I heard what happened, I’m so sorry. Our alchemist nearly went mad when he heard; spent over a fortnight without sleep testing things in every conceivable drink.” The man put his left hand on Devorak’s shoulder, the sanguine glove glistened in the torchlight. “Come with me, we could use one of your skill.” The listless Devorak was hauled to his feet. “Jax is more like a father than a leader. His second, Gen, is real no-nonsense so I’m sure you’ll get along fine. We’ve even got a fair selection of ladies.”
Devorak made a comfortable life in the underground lair of the Red Left, which lay inside a labyrinth of guarded tunnels from which none were allowed to leave. Rarely, very rarely, one might wander into the lair. This girl was one such stray, foisted upon the second in command, Gen, by his superior.
“So you’re Devorak, and the smith?” The woman ran her fingers over the hilts of several blades as she wandered the forge.
“Aye. And you’re Gen’s lady.” The girl scoffed.
“'Gen’s lady', as if I belong to someone.” Hefting a blade she swung a few strokes, seeming satisfied. “Did you know I was given to him to quiet rumors of homosexuality? I’m still wondering if he is or not, he hasn’t so much as talked to me and we live in the same room. It’s kinda cute how shy he is.” Devorak quelled a quizzical look.
“Where did you learn to handle a blade like that?”
The first of the month of Rain is reserved for the appreciation of Red Left’s wives, quelling uprising and sowing jealousy. The women gossip and flaunt the gifts given to them by their keepers as a symbol of their favor since many of the Red Left have more than one wife. Gen, the master tactician, was paralyzed.
“She’s going to die of misery down here. I can’t let that happen.” Gen paced around the anvil.
“If she doesn't kill the other women for offending her first. What do you plan to do, Gen?” Devorak continued to stoke the forge.
Gen suddendly stopped. “Give her the one gift none of the other women will ever have, her freedom.”
“That's insane. She may have some talents, but without a blade she’ll be cut down by the guards. You know the mistresses aren’t allowed to carry weapons.”
“That’s where I believe you, Devorak, can help.”
Devorak threw down his tools and grabbed Gen by the arm. “Can you really let her go? Let her leave and forget you?”
“I love her.”
Devorak poured his heart into the creation of a hidden weapon, seeking redemption for his mistake in the love of Gen and his mistress. Having finished, he knew that this piece was his Masterwork. As for what became of Gen and his beloved- that is a different story for another time.
Additional Ideas (1)
· Lord Westershroud and his mistress have suddenly been found poisoned. The players must first cover up the circumstances of his death, and then discover who poisoned them and why.
· Nothing lasts forever, the Forget Me Not has become broken during a gremlin infestation and widow Westershroud insists she wear “the last anniversary gift her husband would ever give her.” The players must find a craftsman skilled enough to repair the Forget Me Not before the funeral of Lord Westershroud. Being such an old and delicate item of such rare quality the smith might need additional help procuring tools and materials.
· A young dwarf wishes to obtain the Forget Me Not for study that he can use some of its design for his own Masterwork.
· Having heard the tale of redemption, Devorak’s clan wishes to have him interred in the clan mausoleum with proper honors. However, before he can be declared a Master Craftsman and buried as such his Masterwork must be found, examined, and approved by a council of elder dwarven craftsmen. It cannot be presented broken.
· The last vial of a rare poison has been stored within the Forget Me Not. It is the only way to defeat the rampaging Woargarble. The players must find and obtain the Forget Me Not, and perhaps even learn how to use it against the fearsome foe.