Just north of the growing town of Thistlemarch lies the run-down keep formerly occupied by the Mad Margrave - that eccentric nobleman who sadly took his own life last year. Parts of the keep are occasionally used by the townspeople, but the majority of the area is now overrun by a clan of poggles, tiny dog-men not known for their cleanliness or intelligence. The poggles have been behaving themselves and trading with the hardworking folk of Thistlemarch, although they do not often come into town proper. One day a week, a corner of the keep's courtyard becomes the "Flea Market" where men and dogs exchange goods.
This poggle-tribe is ruled by a particularly clever poggle called Red Blanket, who holds court over the Flea Market. Although the poggles have a great deal of energy and capacity for out-of-the-box thinking, they are not skilled at matters martial, or any task which requires strong organizational skills or sound judgment. Thus has Red Blanket, in his wisdom, attempted to recruit some 'tall folk' to undertake a few tasks for the benefit of the great poggle nation...
Greetings, mercenaries, adventurers, and seekers of the unknown - thank you for coming before me today and expressing your interest and willingness to serve the righteous poggle cause. I have sniffed your backsides, and consider each of you trustworthy. Listen closely to my words, and attend my needs, and you shall be rewarded.
Some distance from here lies an old burial mound of the Black Eagle tribesmen, and beneath it, caverns which they say are haunted. The place is called Kwaskatoon in their old cant - it means the bleeding-place. Black Eagle braves sometimes traverse these caverns to test themselves against the dangerous creatures which dwell within. And dangerous they are! Poisonous centipedes of tremendous size, slack-jawed lizard-men...and, at one time, my own clan of poggles, who dwelt in the upper levels.
Some years ago my little tribe split from the main group of poggle-kind, who had begun to hear the voices of dark powers whispering in the shadows. A brief poggle civil war led to our flight, but we have no desire, really, to return there. However, the secrets of Kwaskatoon need to be understood. When I, Red Blanket, prince of my kind, lived in the halls beneath the mound, I spent many an hour eating the strange mushrooms there and attempting to translate the ancient mystical writings on some of the walls. I had a makeshift notebook in which I kept what I had learned...if that notebook still exists, somewhere in the caverns of Kwaskatoon, I want it returned. If it cannot be found, then I will need transcriptions of whatever writing is found on the walls. Whatever else you find in the place is yours - we poggles have no need of it, whatever it might be.
Although I should someday like to see my enthralled countrymen liberated, and the halls of Kwaskatoon cleaned out, that is not my primary goal at this time. Be cautious, sneak in, and fetch my notebook, or make rubbings of the inscriptions. If you return with these things, you will be paid, and have earned the love of this poggle princeling.
Red Blanket will gladly send an escort of poggles to guide adventurers to Kwaskatoon, but these tiny warriors consider the caverns themselves taboo since the advent of the whispers-in-darkness, and will not enter with you.
RUMORS/INTEL REGARDING KWASKATOON
1. The Black Eagles say the caverns are haunted by accursed ancestors, and inhabited by cannibal snake-men. Poggle-tales confirm there are reptilian humanoids in the deeps who will gladly swallow a wayward poggle-pup whole.
2. After Grandpa's War, some sixty years ago, an adventuring wizard attempted to convert part of the caverns into a living-space. Later, the Black Eagles discovered he was using their cemetery as a bachelor pad and pretty much murdered the bejeezus out of him.
3. Three years ago, Red Blanket allied himself and his poggles with a group of gold-seeking adventurers under Kwaskatoon...none of them have been seen since.
4. The poggles around Thistlemarch are deathly afraid of the "creeping darkness" which they say has taken hold of the minds of their kinsmen beneath Kwaskatoon; they speak of it as though it is neither man nor beast, but some sort of demonic presence.
5. One of the poggles at the Flea Market remembers that there was a room full of strange waters which they were forbidden to drink by their elder-dogs.
6. Although the upper levels have been worked by human hands, deeper down Kwaskatoon is all wet natural caves. Who knows how far down it truly goes?
7. The well-known cave entrance is the best way to get into Kwaskatoon, but it may not be the only way to exit the deadly complex.
|"Poggles, being the wildest of dog-folk, careen dangerously between 'obsessively friendly' and 'wantonly destructive'. Trusting poggles is ill-advised, if one expects to remain a gentleman."
|Kwaskatoon, get it?