"I am Luthor, priest of St. Cuthbert," the half-giant says simply, reaching for the thick wooden door and shutting it behind him. It isn't clear that this will cut off the sound of his booming voice, but perhaps it will muffle it somewhat.

"I bear a message from the Duke, who has heard some of the adventurers here were interested in setting out on a quest regarding the ancient Temple of Nine Swords." He slowly pulls out a sealed message tube and turns the end towards the group, showing everyone the official Seal of Antric imprinted in the wax. After displaying it, he offers it to Cerran.

"His Excellency asks you to undertake one last mission before you head off on your quest. In return you will be paid a total of 5,000 gold coins, given letters of safe passage through this and neighboring territories, given letters of marque entitling you to keep any treasure from bandits or goblins you defeat, and released from any ongoing mercenary contracts or army service obligations you may have. You will be given an audience with the Duke himself where he will entertain every question you have regarding this . . . Temple . . . he believes you are interested in. His Excellency wants me to make clear that he cannot promise the actual location of the ruins, but he can point you in the direction of reliable information, as well as the last known location of a few objects from the temple."

Luthor pauses, and at last remembers to lower his voice. "As an added bonus, the Duke knows the location of a legendary weapon, which should prove a powerful boon in your quest. It falls within his lands, and so it is legally his. If you do well on your mission for him, and this weapon interests you, he will give you the location and authorize you to retrieve it and take it with you, with the understanding that another item kept in the same place will be returned to him.

"Some of you are mercenaries. Before giving you the mission, which is sensitive, I personally would like to ask if you are willing to swear oaths to not bear arms against Antric in this generation." He looks at the High Erruni meaningfully. "Only for this generation, while the Duke reigns. I hope this will not be too limiting. The Duke does not ask for this, but my own conscience tells me that to release you from all other obligations and give such power into your hands should in fairness come with a guarantee it will not be used against him."