Turning his eyes to the scroll once again Mandrean read aloud. “So you left Valia and returned home just prior to my spy’s arrival. With you back in Fraylic there could be no doubt the staff and key were in Grithinshield Manor. Linvin established himself at the head of the Grithinshield commercial empire and entered Society. Even during a gala held at the estate, our agents could not search the grounds thoroughly. We needed someone inside. “It was about that time Linvin moved out and opened a store in Missandor of Sartan’s Elvin County. Eventually one of the assassins was hired on to the house staff at Grithinshield Manor where she began looking for the items. Once they were located, it was decided his mother must die so as not to alert anyone of their theft. Without wanting to attract attention, it was decided to slowly poison her so her death would look natural. In the confusion of her demise it would be possible to confiscate the items and bring them to me. “When she finally passed on, however, the staff and key were gone. Her only visitor since the items were last seen was Anvar Greenlith. After ransacking his home the assassins followed the next logical link in the chain. They paid a visit to Missandor to find Linvin Grithinshield. When they arrived, his tree was unoccupied. Another search ensued and nothing was found. A local elf mentioned they’d left town heading south and so the team did so as well. After finding no other reference to their trek to the south they turned north to the next nearest relative, Caritha Greenlith and her pathetic sons Bander and Rander. “They’d guessed right. Linvin and Anvar had indeed gone there. They recruited the Greenlith boys and set out for the Territory. My agents once again just missed their query. It was clear from local accounts and the information the team already knew the quartette was searching for the Red Sapphire. Necromancer told me one of the uses of the staff was to lead its owner to the gem.
Since I had the prize in my possession it would only be a matter of time before the staff and key were brought to me. I recalled the assassins and alerted everyone between here and Sartan of a bounty on you…alive.” Again Mandrean addressed Linvin. “Why you would take up with this lot is beyond me. Your uncle, I can understand. He at least is powerful and reportedly wise. Why choose the Greenliths? Your entire life was spent at odds with them. You reportedly despise one another and it has led to fisticuffs on more than one occasion. You would have been better off leaving them out of this, Linvin. Then again, my people would have simply tortured them to death for information even if they were left out of the discussion. It was a wise move to send your aunt away. It saved her life. “So how did this pathetic, nonfunctional party defeat two goblin patrols, Blixor’s men and if I am informed correctly, a dragon? I simply cannot believe you made it this far. Now that you’re here with your goal in sight, it must be tearing you up inside knowing I will master the Red Sapphire and you will die immediately after.” Linvin folded his arms and set a wicked glare upon Mandrean. “I have been given up for dead, wounded repeatedly and threatened by greater opponents than you,” Linvin said at last. “I am still here.” “Good,” said Mandrean. “I hoped you would not grovel for your life. It would have done you no good, but I at least wanted to believe you could stare down death. Now watch, as your prize becomes mine. Necromancer, give me the key.”