But then, she died while giving birth to her child.
The young widower was weeping for his love, and reconsidering his life. Is there anything more? What should he live for, when She is gone? Then the advocate’s assistant came. He said he could not deliver one of the letters out of his wife’s legacy. As that man was executed last year, and no heir was found, it belongs to him.
Surprised, the name on the letter even seemed familiar, he opened the letter. Moments later he was running on the street, and screaming for help.
The promise He gave Her, and has quite forgotten, was that should she ever die, His heart will break and He would follow Her into eternity. And if not, He would take His life anyway. And She made sure, it seems…
Cassie left several special letters in her last will. Each of them was adressed directly or indirectly to a notorious criminal or killer, contained a few valuable black pearls, and the contract to kill her husband, if he is still alive. More pearls are promised upon his death. Brisson the Blood-Handed was one of them, but is already hanged.
Note: Cassie came from a very rich family, and no one ever asked where the wealth came from. It is a story for another time, of how did a young and poor man win her heart, and persuade her respected father to marry his only child to him.
Starting the adventure:
It would be fine, if the party looks physically imposing, or is reknown as good fighters. Malen is not very smart, and will look for strong and big bodyguards. But not all is in vain, even for other parties.
The party could save this young man from death by an accident (does not have to look like an assassination attempt, at least not yet). Puzzled, he thanks, but doesn’t think about it too much as he is still in grief. Of course, he will come back to them once he discovers the truth.
The GM should create several potential killers. But even a few years can change much. It should be unclear for as long as possible, how many letters were sent, and how many recieved.
- Maybe a killer is old, or has a wound or disease that makes him incapable of true action. But the reward is nice… a reason to let someone else make the dirty work.
- If there is an assassin, or similar class, or mindset in the party (merceneries…), (s)he could be hired or convinced to kill Malen. It could be presented as a part of the training.
- One letter came into the hands of a priest, and sends the heroes to help the vicitm. It is on you whether it is a retired killer, or not.
- A sibling gets a letter for his parent, and greedily decides to act on his own. Easy to defeat for hardy adventurers, but if they kill him, they may have to deal with Daddy later…
- A PC gets the letter purely by chance.
Malen will be the target of several killers. It is even possible that some of them offers a reward. The sum (the value of a few pearls) could be enough for little criminals to make a try, and a cover-up for the real job.
...could bring a lot of light into the whole case. It is therefore advisable, that he stays for a while out of reach, a weekend or holidays could do. As a part of the testament, he should keep all his knowledge in silence, and forget it, in accord with laws. But explaining the whole situation (plus a cleverly applied bribe) can make him remember.
The Advocate had nothing to do with the murderous deal, but can give the addresses to which the letters have been sent, giving the PCs a chance to find the killers, or at least learn who they are (insert favoured ways of killing…).
What is more serious, but the heroes are not likely to consider, and Malen has completely forgotten, is HIS testament. In it are letters to the same recipients… with the final rewards. Cassie has made him sign it, and he never looked inside. But even if this hidden trap is found, the killers are not likely to retreat…
Not all need be assassins, but all are hardy criminals. All of them also worked for the Family, and may consider this job a kind of duty, with nice pay.
A priestly friend of the family, or Malen alone, will learn about this situation, and may propose a very strange solution: that he fulfils his oath to Her. Choose a corresponding religion carefully.
Ending the Adventure
If Malen is dead, it may be over. If all the criminals were killed, or imprisoned, it may be over. If the party kept the black pearls, they could be afflicted with a curse, or be hunted by anyone that knows, and doubly so by the killers, that think they deserve their reward.
The Beauty or The Beast?
How could Cassie create this devious plan? Is it all from lack of trust into men? Could it be the work of her father, undoubtly a mafia boss (now dead)? Or could she, knowing the right people, and the contacts, be indeed a father’s daughter, and maybe even rule the local underworld? Such little details may even upset the political balance of this city, and a soon-to-be-murder could become a diplomatic hornet’s nest for the heroes. Covering up this scandal may bring substantial goodwill from the local authorities.