It was a hot and dusty day in the District of Philosophers. Outside, the throng of Vornheim’s most ardent traders in goods magical, sorcerous and blasphemous were busy, as they were selling, cheating, buying and stealing from each other and their customers. Inside in the upper chamber of the Tower of the Lord Magical, however, the air was cool and quiet.
The sorcerer looked at the mercenaries, witless thugs, petty criminials and moronic dilletantes, the lot of them. His smiled revealed his filed teeth as he languidly gestured at the murky liquid in the brazier in front of them. A grunt of exertion escaped him as he deliberately twisted his hands to the side allowing images to form in the brazier. The cloudy water shimmered and all in the room could see icy peaks under a grey sky.
“Behold Kheled Gathol, the greatest of all the ancient dwarf fortresses. When we were nothing but apes in the northern jungles, this is where the brutal Khuzdul emperors came forth from to enslave us.” A slight flick of a wrist and the onlookers looked down as the image swooped down, as if they were looking through the eyes of a bird of prey, hunting in the skies. They could see the glazier beneath the highest peak, a lone tower piercing the ice to reach up.
“But now the Palace of Glass is empty, its owners fled to to the surrounding hills, nothing but degenerate savage pict-dwarves. But their sins remain. Behold the Blightwater!” The image showed the lake beneath the calving glazier. Sunlight played on its surface, reflecting unnatural, diseased colours onto the wall of the glazier.
“The dwarves of Kheled Gathol destroyed the very water of their kingdom. No living thing can drink of the Blightwater and remain as it was. It is a foul sorcerous liquid that poisons both flesh and spirit.” The sorcerer nodded at his guests, taking a deep breath.
“But I have need of it. It is an essential ingredient for my experiments. I have tried to use water from the river that runs from this lake, but it is no use. I need it undiluted from its source. I am willing to pay. One thousand gold pieces each upon your return. I am a man of my word."
Three weeks later, a ship bearing the flag of Vornheim’s ducal navy landed at the mouth of the Blightriver, delivering its passengers to the small port of Fleinmold.