Crimmor, City of Caravans
by Ed Greenwood, illustrated by Vincent Dutrait, Dragon #335
Population: 20,000; (human 78%, halflings 13%, half-orcs 8%, half-elves 1%)
"Crimmor, City of Caravans, what shall say of thee?
"The life-blood of half Faerûn streams through thy streets, by coin and creaking wagon-wheel. Here Amn works for its glittering gold, and by such striving half the Sword Coast North is fed, and fine-work of a thousand-thousand hands sets forth to remote stead and backland croft.
"Crimmor, where barge, drover, and wagon are lords, work never ceases, and folk can sleep through din worthy of a siege.
"Crimmor, the beating heart of the haughty Merchants' Domain, bones beneath the striding skin of gold. No man is truly a caravan master, who has not passed through Crimmor." - Mandivvur Taeruld, Sage of Amn, Tales of a City Unsleeping [1342 DR]
Crimmor is one of the most bustling places any Faerûnian will ever see. All night long, in all but the worst weather, lanterns blaze in the arches of its open gates and glimmer above the Alandor docks, so work can continue. Wagons creak and rumble along the streets day and night, and the air is filled with the crack of whips, the shouts of drovers, the bellows of oxen, and the jingling of harnesses.
The stink of ox dung hangs strong over the city and clings - thanks to the river-damp - to all clothes hung to dry unless they are draped in the scent-mist wardrobe chambers of the wealthy or of the most expensive launderers.
When the winds blow from the east (a thankfully rare occurrence), the reek from Upriver (the bankside tanneries, paddocks, and slaughterhouses) is chokingly thick The rest of the time, a thin haze of hoof-flung dust hangs over the city, and the smells of laboring draft-beasts are strong and ever present
Except to the West, where the estates of the wealthy sprawl along the River Road for half a day's ride, and due east where the tanneries, warehouses, and carriage-sheds line the Lake Way halfway to Amnwater, Crimmor is surrounded by caravan-yards.
Land spanning the flight of a ballista-bolt (fired from the great but seldom-used engines of war atop the gray granite city wall towers) out from the walls is kept clear of encampment and building by decree of the mayor. This "Keepclear" is used by Crimmans for moots, walks, and sward-feasts ¹.
A few trees² on either side of the Orc Road mark the limit of the Keepclear; beyond is a great expanse of paddocks where arriving caravans camp and departing caravans muster.
By law, only oxen or mules "badged"3 by a citizen of Crimmor are allowed to haul any wagon or cart into the city or along any Crimman street. Such teams are hired dozens of times daily to go out, hitch onto a wagon from an arriving caravan and bring it in to the city. Small local-delivery drovers take their mule-carts out, too, and "cry carry" (call for business) to fetch less-than-a-wagonload cargoes (strongchests, crates, kegs, and coffers) from caravan wagons to city addresses. Crimman ox-teams make frequent runs from the docks right across the city and out to paddocks, transferring bargeloads to waiting wagons (or to bankside warehouses upriver, to await carriage later).
Bylaw, all shore-docks for barges must be located within the Crimmor Shore (the stretch of bank enclosed by the city walls), to prevent barges from being run ashore anywhere up and down the Alandor to evade inspection and fees. As a result, the city is always choked with traffic, which is why the major streets bear bright gold wheel-plaques warning folk that wagons have right of way.
Crimmans seem used to the smells and the constant noisy bustle. Visitors often find sleep comes hard for their first tenday or so. Most find it far more pleasant out in the paddocks, even with all the lowing and neighing.
Greed keeps the streets busy at night, but such "moon work" is made possible because Crimmans and visitors alike feel safe: the Crimmor Guard is vigilant and mounts numerous patrols against gangs, thuggery in the shadows, and brawls. Everyone knows that "No thief thrives in Crimmor."
Crimmans are quite proud of that last belief, and it's largely true: the Shadow Thieves maintain a self-enforced no-theft policy within Crimmor's walls.4 However, Crimmans know to "guard your glint," showing as little of valuable wares as possible to public gaze - because Shadow Thief spies are everywhere in the city, identifying what's being shipped where so choice items can be stolen on the way from Crimmor to elsewhere.
Crimmor (Large City): Conventional; AL N; 75,000 gp limit (increased due to abundant business and trade); Assets 75,000,000 gp; Population 20,000; Mixed (human 78%, halflings 13%, half-orcs 8%, half-elves 1%).
Authority Figures: Corlyn Braen, mayor of Crimmor (NG male human Rgr4); Lady Lamia Crytrapper, mistress of the Crytrapper family (NG human female Rgr6); Mikaal Krimmevol, local head of the Krimmevol family (NG male Ftr4); Lady Zharnn Ophal, the Dragon Lady, matron of the Ophal family (CE female human Rog7); Branwyn Vaupel, youngest High Sword of the Crimman Guard (LG female human Ftr5).
Important Characters: Lydan Prowl, detective within the Crimman Guard (NG male halfling Rgr2/Rog2); Yugo Reft, boss of the Dockhands (LE half-orc Ftr6); Madame Alistimra Tamm, proprietor of the Pearl (N female human Rog4/Sor2); Tehrinna the Towering, owner of Tymoran Trails (NG female human Ftr5); Jalantha Truard, hostess, informant, and connoisseur of Crimman society (CN female half-elf Rog2); Zan Zoldaflel, leader of the Wheelwrights (LG human male Ftr2/Exp6).
What Meets the Eye
Crimmor is a city of stone - dirty stone. Road-dirt coats the lowest story of its tall, narrow stone buildings (built touching each other, with many small balconies jutting out over streets, well above the height of the tallest loaded wagons), the cobbled streets are well-worn with wagon-ruts, and not a hand-span of land is "wasted" on gardens, parks, or greenery (the saying "No tree grows in Crimmor" is both old and apt). Most buildings rise four to six stories tall, above a single level of low-ceilinged cellar, broken up by massive stone supports. They have ornately-carved stone fronts (adorned with gargoyles and fanciful "ardragons"),5 tall and narrow windows (typically as wide as four mens' palms across) with vertically overlapping sliding panes of blown, bubble-studded Amn glass (most houses have "window-poles" ending in hooks for sliding panes up and down), and steeply-pitched tile roofs with corner downspouts.
Amn gets a lot of rain in short but fierce downpours that tend to happen twice or thrice almost every morning. There are narrow but deep center-street channels (gutters) for carrying rainwater down to the Alandor, but most storms overburden them, sluicing dung off the cobbles and making necessary the "big step up" front stone threshold of most Crimman buildings.
Cold, clinging river-mists (sometimes thick enough to be called fogs) develop in wee morning hours and drift through the northernmost streets until banished by the sun. On overcast mornings the mists linger.
A visitor looking across Crimmor sees a lot of tall, narrow, side-walls-touching gray buildings, stained brown to just above the height of a tall man, with ornate carvings around arrow slit windows.6 Tile roofs of dark brown, green, or blue rise past gables to wedge or "ax-blade" roof peaks, creating a skyline of blades dominated by the upthrusting spires of The Pearl (an exclusive short-stay inn, formerly the Mother of Pearl Boarding House) and the Thaeldorn (the huge, many-turreted house of governance).
Most buildings in Crimmor are in good repair because the gaudy dress so essential to social status in Athkatla here takes second place to having fine coaches, walking-sticks, homes, luggage, and tools in the best of shape. Nothing impresses a Crimman so much as a "proper earner" (which means very nice) tool or implement.
Conversely, although "proper" buildings should be solidly built of stone and in good repair, overly gaudy ornate balcony railings and statuary are regarded as frippery promoted by those with "too little coin to buy their own confidence." The three local "grand families" (the Ophals, Krimmevols, and Crytrappers) are exceptions to this, of course - but they exhibit their good taste by hiding ornate architectural splendors away behind elegant stone walls and coach-sized, coin-shaped gates.
The naming conventions of Crimmor are indicative of those used throughout Northern Amn. Examples of some of the most common of these names follow.
|Surnames||Male Given Names||Female Given Names|
|Istur||Gors||Isruldra (Ismac, Ruldra)|
Crimmor can comfortably house 75,000 folk and - with a bit of crowding - find room for 100,000; in winter, it's usually home to just over 20,000. Its two major streets are The High Ride (known to locals simply as "the High"), that aside from a swing to the riverbank just west of the Alandor Gate (the Eastern city gate), runs due east-west through the heart of the city; and the Wagonrun ("the Run"), which runs north-south from the High to Drovers' Gate (where the Orc Road begins) at about Crimmor's midpoint.
Crimmor is divided into three wards by these streets: everything north of the High is River Ward, everything west of the Run is Wheel Ward, and everything east of the Run is Purse Ward. The busiest street-moot in Crimmor is the Coins, where the High and the Run meet, but the most interesting moot is The Drae, just west of the High's riverbank swing, where the street known as the Dausann ("DAW-sah-nnn") splits off south (and loops around westward, just inside the city wall, to rejoin the High some way to the west). The Drae is where folk go to be seen entering the most elegant clubs.
Strong, fast-flowing springs of drinkable water arise on Crytrapper Hill, immediately west of the city; they were why Crimmor was founded on this site in 163 DR. Drinking their waters is (falsely) believed to cure plague, and they flow to the nearest city wall-tower through a midair pipe between hill and turret. From there, it's piped along the walls and thence across the city. Almost all buildings tap the flow with spigots, handpumps, and cisterns.
Any visitor foolish enough to drink from the Alandor can expect to be violently ill for a day or so (locals are more used to it), and "highnoses" (snooty folk) can buy "clearwater" in ornate stoppered flagons (6 sp for about a gallon) brought in from the crystal-clear waters of Weeping Princess Pool, a fancifully-named rainwater pool four hills southwest of the city.
Waste - from broken items to rotting food and chamberpot-waste - is collected from dawn to dusk by slowly, continuously moving drudgebucket wagons, whose drovers blow double-note fluted pipes at each door to signal their arrival; inhabitants hasten out and dump for a copper coin per bucket (any container one person can carry to the wagon unaided). The wagons run south down the Orc Road to pits three hills away from Crimmor.
Rats and mice are everywhere in Crimmor (where dogs and cats are banned, except as caged food cargoes just moving through) and are cheerfully slain with slung stones, poison, and drowning-traps whenever seen.
A number of tightly-sealed warehouses around the city are granaries maintained by the Thaeldorn as food supplies against siege, famine, plague, or severe winter "snowbound" times, and there are also secret (that is, unofficial but whispered about across the city) granary caverns under Crytrapper Hill. These Hillwarrens are guarded and used by the Shadow Thieves to hide contraband, supplies, wounded, or on-the-run members; in return, they don't steal in Crimmor. The entrances to the Hillwarrens are truly secret, but thought to include Crytrapper Hall and various city buildings (via long tunnels).
Folk who die in Crimmor are washed, shaved (and the hair sold for use in wigs and as stuffing), and loaded on a corpses-only drudge-wagon to be taken a long way east of the city, to a place where clerics burn them. Only the wealthiest are buried in crypts inside Silent Hill (southwest of the city, just beyond the Keepclear). In either case, funeral services are day long, casual come-and-go remembrance feasts held in the homes of the dead.
Sights and Shopping
Shops typically open from "mist-clear" (a short time after dawn) to dusk, and are shuttered the rest of the time (although they might receive deliveries and re-stock at all hours). Items are tagged with prices (switching tags avails no one as there are no laws requiring items to be sold for the tagged price), and shopkeepers have many young assistants to hover over customers. Most people ask upon entry to signal urgency for an item; if they smile and wave, they want to browse until they signal an assistant. All shops wrap purchases unless otherwise arranged.
It's been said one can buy anything in Crimmor - or have anything expertly copied, repaired, or altered. Every shop is busy, but the mayor has decreed that no one should be able to outbid other customers for swifter service (driving the practice into secrecy and higher prices, rather than entirely eliminating it). Most shops are cluttered, noisy, and busy; customers who break wares must buy them, and haggling must be swift or the keeper will end it with a chop of the hand and an, "Enough, lowcoin!"
There are five Crimman guilds: the Dockhands, the Leatherers, the Wagonmakers, the Smiths, and the Wheelwrights (who also represent most of the Drovers after the three grand families, fearing stiff fee increases, persuaded the mayor to not allow drovers to found their own guild). Rather than having guildmasters - susceptible to being bought by the grand families - they elect small, short-term ruling councils.
The province of each guild currently stands as follows: the Dockhands control all loading and unloading on the docks (working with barge and wagon crews). The Leatherers are dominated by very good harness-makers, saddlers, and bootmakers (Crimman boots are hobnailed and durable, yet stylish). The Wagonmakers (dominated by the famous Zan Zoldaftel)7 lubricate the flow of business throughout the city and beyond. The Smiths specialize in wagon fittings, but also in chain (fine to massive), fastenings (screw, hook-and-eye, bolts, and so on) the usual hinges, locks and lockplates, and - surprisingly - wire. Finally, the Wheelwrights, due to their needs for particular woods cut just so, dominate carpenters, and - through their drover members - woodcutters who bring firewood to Crimmor from the foothills of the Cloud Peaks.8
Crimmans are hard workers, eager investors (willing to take chances, but shrewd), and innovators. As the saying goes, "A lazy Crimman is a sick Crimman."
The Shadow Thieves
As much a part of Amnian life as commerce, the powerful thieves and assassins guild known as the Shadow Thieves comprise an institution nearly as respected as the ruling Council of Six. Originating from distant Waterdeep, the guild's power in that metropolis was shattered amid blood and deception in 1298 OR, culminating in the organization's banishment. Moving their operations to Athkatla, the Shadow Thieves diversified their illicit aims, divided their structure into one of numerous interlocking guilds, and swiftly dominated illegal activity in Amn.
Today, the ShadowThieves control the majority of criminal operations along the Sword Coast, maintaining their greatest base of power within Amn. From their hidden headquarters in Athkatla, the group's leaders, the Shadow Council, covetously guard the organization's secrets, making the exact numbers of guild members, locations of safe houses, and potential targets impossible to know. The multifaceted organization of the Shadow Thieves also makes it so that should one sect be rooted out, the guild's enemies reveal little of the group's other operations. Such is the extreme secrecy of the organization that the most powerful member of the Shadow Council, Rhinnom Dannihyr, also sits upon Amn's ruling body, the Council of Six.
While the Shadow Thieves' goals encompass all illicit dealings - aimed at bringing its members far greater wealth and power - the guild also holds a deep grudge against Waterdeep and its lords, swearing to someday return to the city from which it was banished.
Crimmor has merely three inns, but many rooming-houses. Inns offer full meals, laundry and bathing services, larger rooms, and much higher prices than rooming-houses. Merchants staying in a Spartan rooming-house can rent stabling and carriage-storage at an inn (most inns own several stables and carriage-sheds, with their own staff and guards, located streets away from the inn proper).
This rebuilt former grand family palace that was for years an increasingly infamous seedy rooming-house, is the tallest building in the city, its spectacular spires and curving upswept roofs impressive landmarks. It offers the most luxurious visitors' accommodations in Crimmor.9
As its name implies, this small back-street establishment offers quiet. Rooms are hung with tapestries, halls are carpeted, walls are thick and noisy guests are often asked to leave. Owner Aumra Sorutalar is a no-nonsense, bustling little woman who leads gangs of staffers to deal swiftly with problems, clean up messes, and see to the comfort of guests. A stern finger-tapping of her deep purple lips to signal quiet is her constant habit.
This large inn offers guests a rustic tavern-taproom-like drinking lounge on the ground floor. It's noisy, crowded, and popular at all hours, so the three floors of rooms above are recommended only to the hard-of-hearing. Many fun-loving local women come to the Trails for companionship, as do "ladies of coin" looking for business from visiting merchants, so the noise often spreads to the rooms. Staff guards patrol against lawless rowdiness. The Trails is owned by the striking Tehrinna the Towering.10
Crimmor holds dozens of rooming houses that offer fresh-made beds, chamberpots, water-basins, and taps in otherwise Spartan private rooms, with doorguards but no meals or other services, for 6 sp per night up to 1 gp per night in the high summer season. They are all much the same, aside from one or two disguised brothels that offer room visits from "house girls" (negotiated fees extra). A few are quiet, private places, but most are large, bustling, and close to taverns and major moots. "Quiet" houses include Gaskrel's on Immermoon Lane and Ivyposts on Blackoor Street. "Big" houses include Redbanners House and Brightshields on The High, and Alessan House on The Dausann.
Smoked oysters, fried cheese breads, and pickles are the only food to be had at most Crimman taverns - noisy, smoky, crowded places that concentrate on pouring as much cider and ale down patrons' throats as possible.
The Drover's Drink is a cozy, run-down, bare-wood but well-lit fixture where brawling is discouraged. Ralory's Redtarge, nigh the docks, is the place to pick fights and break bones. The Bright Fish is where younglings go to eye each other, giggle, and show off to the accompaniment of the latest wild minstrelry, outrageously bawdy songs, and declaimed poems.
Most of these large, cavernous places were created by joining the upstairs floors of several adjacent buildings to create a sprawling maze of dimly-lit dining-halls, dance-floors, and private booths. Beautiful hostesses serve drinks (and often more!) in the curtained-off booths, but the dining halls are where many Crimmans eat their main meal of the day come to talk (gossip and sideline business), and to hire (adventurers, guards, new shop staff, and "go look see" and delivery lads). Drinks and food are always more expensive at clubs than at inns or taverns.
Local hostess Jalantha Truard offers some brief club reviews:
Hearty false "welcoming homestead" decor: all warm smells, candlewheels overhead, cozy nooks, and rough floorboards. Obliging but sometimes bewildered service to a patronage largely of outlanders and old folk. Wonderful, oft messy food such as pan-roasted, peppered sweetbreads swimming in lemon sauce; rabbit "pouches" (the rabbit is marinated in cider, deboned into shards, stewed in a spicy sauce, and then tucked into plump patties and drenched in crunchy fried goat cheese to seal in the juices); and creamy, foamy poached river-oyster soup. Spiced breads bolster strong-cheese platters, and apple tarts and pears scooped out and filled with toasted, candied walnuts crown many meals.
The Old Wheel
Noisy, bustling, dance-and-holler atmosphere distracts from many small dining-chambers apt to be dark and forgotten by servers. Greens-platters (salads) a specialty: diced fresh apples cascade like gemstones over a warm long-bean-and-radish salad cloaked in a crust of blackrind cheese; cold mixed greens are drenched in a dressing of groundspears (asparagus) juice in which mint and prawns have been stewed; soft-boiled quail eggs adorn a bed of parsley and fried ground-moss. Main dishes are a justly famous roast rothé, served standing thick and smoky in a puddle of wine gravies and drippings; rich, buttery smoked Athkatlan harpfish coated in crushed black peppercorns and sweet treebark syrup; and superb slabs of venison glistening dark under drizzles of honey-ginger. Bowls of sugared berries and pears poached in sweet liqueurs finish most meals.
Highnosed (haughty), all draperies, hushed tones, the latest luxurious Athkatlan fashions, and coldly polite service. Large, quiet, and respectable, with fast and numerous "blackjerkins" (brawl-quelling security staff). A large wine cellar bolsters meager servings of superb grilled grouse marinated in rosemary, sage, and cinnamon; mustardy Alandor crayfish; and the ever-popular seared boar chops. Successful retired Crimmans come here to moan about the old days.
Named for a mythical sly and mysterious wizard from the East, who in local tales settled in Crimmor centuries ago and played tricks on children, this newest of city clubs affects a sensual "dance, purr, and find a booth" air. The 'Tail is warm and very dimly lit with ruby-red candle-lanterns. Discreet, gliding staff keep close eye on the fun and are swift to refresh empty flagons. Food is too often drowned in sticky-sweet shoodra sauce (a caramel-hued sugary concoction made from cooked-to-jelly oranges, mangoes, and pears) and crowned with too many cherries and berries, but standouts include velvety braised clam and mushrooms; lamb glazed in mustard-sugar and served on a bed of chicken liver stew; and hand-sized softbread rolls into which diced fried onions have been baked.
The Hand of Justice
Four factors keep Crumnor fairly safe and law-abiding: the vigilance of citizens (no Amnian wants wealth stolen from him), the covert interventions of the Shadow Thieves, the rough enthusiasm of the Bargemen of Crimmor (who constantly patrol the River Road, the river itself; and the docks and wear tabards emblazoned with the wagon-on-barge symbol of Crimmor), and the dozen-strong and numerous street patrols of the Crimnior Guard (who wear chainmail under their tabards, bear longswords and daggers, and sling stones with practiced accuracy).11
The Thaeldorn (a term that means both "palace of the mayor" and the officials who work in it) pride themselves on swift justice, which means apprehended persons are brought before a suzier (SOO-zeer) or magistrate - often the mayor himself on the same day they're dragged to a "lockup" (there are ground-floor holding cells in every wall-tower, and a long-term-incarceration dungeon under the Thaeldorn; all trials are held in courtrooms in the Thaeldorn), or before highsun the next day, if "taken" during the night. The suzier may remand a prisoner into custody for up to three days if evidence - usually witnesses - must be found, but most cases are decided on the spot.
There are no juries in Crimmor. All trials must be public, and accused persons can speak freely (although rude tirades never help one's cause). The two oldest suziers are known to have little patience with the insolent and the sly-tongued, but the mayor and the four younger suziers are often swayed by "fair pleading."
It's been said with some truth that "Crimmor's laws are whatever the mayor12 says they are, and he speaks differently when the accused is wealthy than he does when a prisoner has few coins," but justice in Crimmor is based on the Code of Crimmor (simplified within the Sentences and Crimes sidebars)
Inability to pay fines or damages is mitigated by seizure of property and then enforced hard labor until work value satisfies court debt. Citizens are defined as persons who are recorded as owning land, paying rent, or residing in Crimmor for at least a season.
Once a year, when ice and snow make the overland roads impassable for draft beasts and wagons (and human-pulled sledges must be used for laborious short trips), and caravans stop running, the mayor declares the Crimman festival of Wheelmoot. Its dating varies with seasonal conditions, but its duration is always four days and four nights. All shops close except those selling food and drink (although there's no strict law against closure), everyone locks away valuables and breakables and dons masks and fanciful (or even outrageous) costumes, and drunken revelry and public dalliance becomes the order of the day. Most folk take to the streets for the entire festival, sleeping around street bonfires on cloaks provided by the mayor, and public debauchery is expected, tolerated, and even celebrated (sentences are relaxed or dismissed altogether for some crimes committed during Wheelmoot). However, lawlessness does not prevail: the Bargemen, Guard, and Shadow Thieves all patrol with extreme vigilance and full musterings during the festivities. The mayor sponsors large street feasts (with drink) every evening, and most clubs do ceaseless, roaring trade.
The Lost Lady
Crimmor has a famous haunting: the Lost Lady, a long-ago noblewoman of Tethyr named Esmaelae (EZZ-may-lay) whose true love, Roloran (RAUL-oh-ran) fled from her during a quarrel bearing her necklace of eyeball-sized sapphires, hid from the Guard in a secret passage, and died shut up there, unable to get out. His bones and the gems have never been found, but her restless spirit persists as a floating, incorporeal, faintly-glowing face that whispers in the ears of persons she finds alone by night, bidding them "find Roloran" or "find my bluestones."
Esmaelae has the ability to enter into and "ride" beings (any intelligent creature of either gender) who are willing, or whom she "overcomes" (DC 20 Will Save to avoid; DC 24 if target drowsy or DC 30 if target asleep), forcing them to search Crimmor for Roloran.
She knows he's "shut away somewhere," and will compel her "steed" to keep moving and looking (steeds can otherwise speak and act freely, for example donning clothes or wielding items). Esmaelae's face will be faintly visible, superimposed over the features of the person she's riding. Magic, lots of loud people, or a successful Will save (one attempt every hour) usually causes her to "melt away" from ridden beings, leaving them their own masters again.
There's no known way to slay Esmaelae, she means no particular harm to those she whispers to or "rides" (although fearful victims have been slain or injured fleeing or doing wild things to try to be rid of her), and some Crimmans welcome her "aboard" in hopes she'll lead them to some treasure they can benefit from. All Crimmans know about the Lost Lady, and persons being ridden by her are generally tolerated or even followed and watched for sport.
Crimmor is abuzz right now with the news that something like a flying eel that can apparently breathe air and water (and can travel the water pipes) has been stalking and slaying Thaeldorn officials. There are rumors that this is a creature unleashed by the icy-tempered Lady Ophal, a longtime foe of the current mayor often known as the Dragon Lady. Some whispers hint that she intends to slay Mayor Braen and every last city clerk, replacing them with courtiers and bureaucrats from Athkatla loyal to her. There are rumors that the Dragon Lady is opposed in this by the Shadow Thieves - but other rumors insist she's reached an agreement with them, that they're, working with her, and that Lady Crytrapper has been warned not to help her cousin the mayor in any way.19
In recent years, several Red Wizards of Thay were found dead in the streets, publicly murdered, with "Thayans Stay Out" cut into the bodies. The Shadow Thieves were widely credited with these killings, but the grisly crimes did not deter Thayans from covertly entering the city and trying to trade, often through agents. Now, rings and potions of dark magic are said to be increasing in availability and are finding many buyers among ambitious Crimmans. Are these items safe to use, or can the Thayans control the unwitting purchasers through them? Are the Red Wizards assembling an unwitting army and preparing to strike against the mayor or take over the Thaeldorn? Wild rumors are flying!