Professor Phineus Krane
Professor of Antiquities and Master of Shroud Artistry
A large red sign above the door proclaims in gilt letters, “Travelers Stop Inn.” Above this sign and stretching across the front of the building is a banner with artistic lettering stating “The Traveling Exhibition of Doctor Phineus Krane, Professor of Antiquities and Master of Shroud Artistry.” A number of colorful tents have been set up at the rear of the inn yard, apparently for this exhibition.
At a table nearby, a bespectacled scholarly looking fellow discusses a piece of decorated linen spread across the tabletop with a small group of onlookers.
Doctor Krane clears his throat and says, “The subject of my exhibits here at the Travelers Stop is a form of artistry called shrouding. By using certain reagents and magical properties, this art allows the image of a corpse or mummy to be captured orthographically—that is to say, with height, width, and depth—on the linen shroud in question. It was once a common technique among the burial practices of certain ancient cultures but has largely been lost today. The shroud in question that was destroyed carried the image of the Chelish King Haliad III. It was over four hundred years old and the centerpiece of my exhibition.’
“The good sheriff here has agreed to not jail you if you can pay off the lost shroud’s value—something you will most certainly be unable to do. I do, however, have another proposition for you. Five years ago, a druid named Willowroot located and recovered five artifacts that once belonged to a forgotten king named Narven. I want you to travel to his home in the forest and secure the five items on loan and bring them to me here at the inn. With them I can create a shroud of their former master. Advise Willowroot that for the use of the panoply the items will, of course, be returned and that I will create a second shroud for him to keep, finally giving the burial honor to King Narven that has been denied him for 200 years. I leave it to you to find a way to convince the druid of my proposal.’
’The five items are the breastplate of sacred fire, the wand of earth’s ire, the codex of the firmament, the vial of pure water, and the spirit-staff of Narven. I have here a map to the druid’s grove and sketches of each of the five items. Bring them back to me and you are free to go, our deal completed, and you avoid debtor’s prison for the next 40 years. The choice is yours.”
Professor Krane is still an antiquities enthusiast, but he seems to have hung up his shrouding portfolio. He seems a little ragged, and while he finds the collection of already-claimed relics not quite to his liking, but he will make use of an opportunity when it arises, as seen previously.
Professor Krane has turned once more to the RoundTable Adventurer’s Guild for a job which is, this time, likely to not land them in jail (more likely to get them killed, though). He has tracked down a very rare book on the Fey, called “Masters of the First”, to Fangwood Keep, a spot of some contention straddled between the Nirmathi and the Molthuni holdings in Avistan. While he’s aware it’s dangerous, he is also eager to “rescue” the tome before it is destroyed (provided it hasn’t already been), and any other relics within the keep.
So, with that need in mind, Krane had shopped around for a guild. When his university funding relating to his work with shrouding had been revoked and he was looking for a new university to work for, he was reminded of his work with the RoundTable Guild by a colleague discussing the loss of the Shroud of Naven. This conversation lead to his colleague informing him of the guild’s rise in the world of artifact acquisition and necromancer slaying. Considering this to be his turning fortunes, Krane requisitioned a Sending spell to contact someone at the guild, requesting aid with promise of more work if it turned out well, as well as a recommendation to his colleagues. He was told the so-called “Guild Maester”, the one who handled communications, was a tengu who wore a mask, and Krane found himself recalling his interactions with someone fitting that description back during the situation with Naven’s Shroud. Soon, he had a name, and Carrock Redfeather was contacted.
The tengu promised that guild members would be dispatched to a location of his desire and perform his job for him, but many concessions were wrangled from him in the exchange, to Krane’s consternation. His money was running out, and he was forced to stay in increasingly worse inns. Told to await the arrival of the guildmembers, Krane waited for several weeks in Tamran, which faced Lake Encarthan. He needed this payout. If he couldn’t deal in shrouds, he could sure as hell continue dealing in artifacts and antiquities. Sure, it wasn’t his passion, but there was always money in it, and until he could get another university to fund his work, he would go where the money was.
So he waited.