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Year: 2010
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21 pages
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English
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From the Background:

You press Vincenzo against the wall and punch him across the face again. He gives a short cry of pain and falls to the floor, his mouth drooling blood. You hear Vortigen snickering behind you and you smile as you give Vincenzo a hearty kick in the ribs.

"If you've come to kill me, then finish the job!", he gasps. You give him a cold stare and smile at him.

"If Branno wanted you dead, you would be", you gloat, "but as it happens he doesn't want to lose such a valuable friend as you just yet. Consider this your warning", you finish with another hearty kick in the ribs. Vortigen continues to guffaw at Vincenzo's plight.

Branno, one of Port Blacksand's most powerful and feared crime lords, had asked the two of you to teach Vincenzo a lesson after Branno discovered he had been embezzling some of the money made from burglaries. It strikes you as odd that Branno did not simply wish him dead, he is not known for his mercy and you and Vortigen have killed for him many times before. Perhaps he simply did not want to lose such a competent bookkeeper. Regardless, the job is done now and Vortigen is eagerly going through Vincenzo's drawers in the hope of finding, what he calls his "Hard Work Bonus". Sadly, there only seems to be a few trinkets of little value, hardly the biggest haul you've ever had. Disappointedly Vortigen continues his rummage... and finds something. From the very back of a small cupboard he pulls out a red feather, glowing faintly in the dim light. On seeing what Vortigen has uncovered Vincenzo awakens out of his dazed stupor and gives a start.

"Leave that alone!" he cries.

"Why? What is it?" demands Vortigen. Vincenzo refuses to answer and gives you a defiant look. However, the fat bookkeeper has been trying your patience too long and you give him a few good kicks to get him talking.

"You can't kill me!" he cries as your kicks break his ribs, "You said so yourself. I'll not talk. You can only hurt me so much without killing me."

"You'd be surprised what you can live through", you reply curtly, drawing your knife and glancing at his ear menacingly. This is more than the cowardly bookkeeper can bear. He reveals that the feather Vortigen is holding is that of a Phoenix, a legendary bird with supposed powers of rebirth. Apparently if four such feathers are collected, it will reveal the location of the phoenix egg, a treasure much more valuable than any gold, as anyone with a phoenix as their pet will gain eternal life.

"I know that one such feather is possessed by the merchant Sylees in Blacksand itself", Vincenzo continues. "I had hoped to acquire all four and get my hands on that Phoenix Egg, but you have put paid to my aspirations." The bookkeeper hangs his head dejectedly and you guess that this is all he knows. With a nod and a cruel smile, you and Vortigen leave his house to the murky Blacksand street outside.

"It appears that we are about to embark on quite a quest", says Vortigen with a devilish glint in his eye. You agree that you should both try to track down the remaining feathers, but one of you should report to Branno first to tell him that Vincenzo has been taken care of for it would not be wise to have an angry Branno on their tails during this enterprise. Vortigen agrees and says he will take the feather and discover the whereabouts of this Sylees, while you report to Branno. You can then meet at the Red Lantern Tavern on Gallows Street at eleven o' clock to discuss your next actions. You concur, and set off towards Branno's headquarters, eager to begin your hunt for the feathers of the phoenix.

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