The Frost Potion – Page 19



“I‘d like to see the standard offerings,” says Perilous Jack.

Falconfury nods and turns to the treasure chest. From within his armor he draws a heavy chain that hangs around his neck, from which hangs a huge brass key. He unlocks the chest and draws out a blanket, spreading it out across the wooden platform. Then he arranges several items on the blanket for Jack to observe.

As promised, the offerings run the full gamut of the professional adventurer’s accessories – fine bolts of cloth, beads and precious stones, incenses and perfumes (all excellent material for barter with races and creatures who don’t recognize one’s currency); fine clothing and jewelry for the inevitable need to impress some female or other; rich masks and costumes for the odd masquerade at some vampire noble’s crumbling manse; pieces of armor and harness of varying qualities to replace gear lost in combat/dissolved by acid traps/irredeemably fouled in the swamp; foodstuffs ranging from no-nonsense hard tack and jerky to tiny and expensive jars of truffle oil and dragon’s gall; a vast array of spell components for magical practitioners of every tradition and moral inclination; souvenirs and bric-a-brac including demon horns and the green hair of a dryad, elvish musical instruments and the inside-out clock of a mad artificer . . .

. . . and about this point Jack begins to wonder exactly how deep the cobalt blue treasure chest really is, and whether it might realistically be expected to contain all these wonders – and did he blink, or did the chest just shift itself a little, as a man who has been standing long in one position will fidget with his feet? Jack shakes his head and remains silent as the offerings pour forth . . .

. . . a variety of intoxicating beverages from the plain (a hogshead – literally – of cheap beer) to the exquisite (a bottle of the much-drooled-over Fortune Hills vintage from the estate of Baron and Baroness Coleriide); tools and rope, saddles and tack, tents and blankets, cook pots and combination folding knife/fork/spoon/corkscrews; rich housewares and fabrics to bring home to one’s wife or mother; healing herbs and smoking tobacco, books of legends and regional history, maps both false and true, crumbling scrolls inscribed with fantastic accounts of adventure, spells, recipes, curses, sonnets, prophecy, drivel. And among these lesser things, a few articles of genuine interest to Perilous Jack: Potions of Healing, Antidotes, a PowaShroom – and a pair of oddities.

“This,” proclaims Falconfury, wielding a beautiful golden feather that seems to leave a trail of sparks in the air behind it as the merchant adventurer waves it through the air, “is the tail feather of a Phoenix. Very useful item.”

“What does it do?” asks Perilous Jack.

“I am glad you asked. Grasped like so and held aloft – like so – the Phoenix Feather permits the user to fly.”

“I see,” says Jack. “And – er – why aren’t you flying?”

Falconfury lowers the Phoenix Feather with a hint of a blush. “It only works in deserts. Needs heat, sun, dry air. That sort of thing. Won’t work in the jungle.”

“Ah,” says Jack. His eye falls upon a dull gray pot stoppered and sealed in lead. “And this?”

Falconfury shrugs. “No idea. Some kind of liquid – you can hear it slosh around in there if you shake it – but I don’t know what kind. Could be stale water or expensive wine. Could be a magic potion or a deadly poison. I really have no idea; that’s why it’s so cheap.”

Purchase what you like from Alton Falconfury, being sure to list your purchases and deduct the gold pieces on Jack’s Equipment Sheet.

If you think Perilous Jack should avow his loyalty to Falconfury and ask to see the unusual items, turn to 5.

If you think he should continue on his journey, turn to 39.