The Jewel of Dantenos

By: Brian D. Anderson

A Lee Starfinder Adventure


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Lee Starfinder sat astride his massive black stallion, head high and back straight. His fur-lined suede coat covered the silver silk shirt that he had received as tribute from the Miners’ Guild. His black hair was oiled and pushed back in Baltrian fashion, which had become the style in Hazrah. His black trousers and polished boots were decorated with tiny silver beads set in a crisscrossing pattern that glittered in the noonday sun. His long, slender blade hung carelessly at his side. Though he preferred to attach it to his saddle, this gave him an even greater air of superiority, important for a man of his standing and position. A true noble lord by all accounts.

The streets of Hazrah were bustling with activity. The sounds of peddlers shouting their wares and the songs of wandering minstrels echoed off the stone walls of the buildings. Hazrah was a solidly built city constructed mostly from a dark gray granite common in the Razor Edge Mountains. This ensured that its structures would stand the test of time, not to mention any assault. Some houses and shops were as high as three stories, and though impressive to look at, they did funnel the harsh wind through the markets in winter. But thankfully, it was now early spring.

The seed and hay merchants had begun to arrive, along with the copper and jewel traders up from the southlands. Lee owned six mines, and the sight of trade meant more gold for his coffers. Not that he didn’t have enough wealth already. Only the king boasted more. Still, more was better. Gold kept his house powerful and his interests secure.

The scent of pack animals and the unwashed bodies of laborers mingled with the perfumes of the wealthy traders and nobles, which gave the air an unwholesome smell that Lee

detested. It was why he rarely came to the market himself. His friends would tease him that he was abandoning his humble beginnings in favor of a lordly life. He knew they weren’t wrong, but also that they were little better. By all accounts, they lived as if they were wealthier than he (though they clearly were not). When not training or studying warfare, he spent time at the private baths reserved for landed nobility, or at lavish parties that took place almost every night. It was there he would cause tongues to wag. His self-confident swagger, good looks and carefree disposition caused the noble ladies to swoon, and Lee made no secret of the fact that he enjoyed their company. More than once he had faced down a jealous suitor or angry father. But, as his prowess with a blade was well known, he rarely had to do more than apologize and give an expensive gift to quell their fury.

From the moment he inherited the title of Lord Nal’Thain, it was speculated as to whom he would wed. It was clear that a house of such vast riches and influence should have an heir. That Dauvis Nal’Thain has left his fortune to Lee to begin with had caused great discomfort among the nobles, being that he was a commoner and former servant. But luckily, Lee had sufficient gold and the wherewithal to silence their protests. Even so, as he had shown no more than a passing interest in any of the noblewomen in Hazrah, many feared for the future of his house.

He glanced over his shoulder and scowled. Millet was riding just behind on an old painted mare. His prematurely gray hair and weathered features gave him the appearance of a far older man. In fact, he was only thirty-eight, a mere fifteen years Lee’s senior. Still, he was neither frail nor timid. On the contrary, he sat straight and proud as any lord, and his simple green cotton

shirt and brown pants were tailored and well fitted to his thin frame.

“You could have dressed a bit better, don’t you think?” scoffed Lee. Lee had a somewhat strained relationship with Millet.

“Perhaps, my lord,” he replied. “But as we will be beyond the gates in minutes, and out of the public eye, I chose to dress for the journey.”

Lee glared. He knew Millet disapproved of drawing attention to themselves on this particular trek. They would be away for quite some time if all went according to plan, and marching off as if to war would only start rumors flying prematurely. “I dressed according to my station, Millet. But don’t worry. I brought the rags you had placed in my quarters this morning.”

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