Jasper Esthvin


JASPER ESTHVIN (Retired Mineworker)

You knock faintly on the door of a small hut.

After a while your hear loud plodding noises of heavy boots inside the building moving slowly in your direction.

Finally the door opens a bit and a man peers through the gap, checking you with a strange absent look. As you look at him closely you see the reason for his unusual stare: The right eye of the man is made of glass.

"Yeah?", the old man says and looks at you vigoriously.

Artimidor "Greetings to you, old man!"

Old sick man "Yeah? And? What do ya want?"

Artimidor "I'm still new in town and would like to know your name."

Old sick man "Name's Jasper. Always has been", the hoarse voice in front of you tells you in strong accent. "And what 'bout you, stranger? Gotta name as well?"

Artimidor "Maybe this name is not so well known in this region: It's Artimidor."

Jasper Esthvin "A nice morning, Artimidor. What's it you seek in my humble hut?"

Artimidor "Well, as I already said: I'm new in town and would like to learn more about the people who live here."

Jasper Esthvin "That's ok, boy. If you have some questions about the town and its people, you're right here."

Artimidor "What are you doing all day? - I mean, do you have a certain profession?"

Jasper Esthvin "Are ya always that curious?"

Artimidor "Yes, I guess so."

Jasper Esthvin "Anyway, a profession? Mean if I got one? Nooo... don't have one. Mean: Not anymore, chap."

Obviously troubled by heavy coughing, the old man blows out, then continues:

"Been in the mine, ya know. Tell you what: Been a good worker, yeah, good worker!"

He winces, coughs again. Only his healthy eye keeps on looking in your direction.

"But worked too much! - That's it, now everything's hurting in my tired bones. I used to work at least ten hours a day, but today I can't even leave the house as I can't walk more than hundred peds. Worked too much - and for what? For nothing, I tell ya, for nothing. But well, that's that. Can't change it and moaning doesn't make one healthy, isn't it?"

Artimidor "Tell me about the mine, please!"

Jasper Esthvin "Yep, the mine below Mount Griffin! It's closed today. Too much of these worms down there creeping around. I mean: Nobody would dare to go down there, even if the Count allowed some madmen to venture in the tunnels. Though I'm sure that there still is enough of these creepy bastards deep below the earth..."

Artimidor "You talk so mysteriously about 'it'... What exactly are you refering to?"

Jasper Esthvin Jasper bends forward to you, hits his forhead slightly with his trembling hand and whispers in your ear:

"It... It...", he mumbles. "Are ya from Dorania that ya have to ask those simply questions? - DIAMONDS are down there! Magnificent gems, great as a man's fist! And not only a few... masses you can find there, let you tell you so! I was long enough down there, and I know, there's still enough down there of IT..."
He stresses the last word harassing you.

Then Jasper clears his throat.

"But then the worms came and the Count has finally closed the mine. The dwarves have closed all entries. All. Noone can go down there. It's a pitty indeed. Such nice, big diamonds..." He sighs.

Artimidor "And since the mine is closed you have enough money for your living?"

Jasper Esthvin"The Count pays us former miners money since the mine is closed, though not too much. But anyway, the Count isn't that bad at all. It's enough at least, and I don't really need that much."

Artimidor: "Who is this Count, by the way?"

Jasper Esthvin "The Count - he's called Ardanbal, in case ya haven't heard his name somewhere before. Well, the Count doesn't allow anyone to enter the mines. Not even those who promise him to get rid of those beasts once and for all. But I guess the Count'll know, what he's doing. Has to take care that nobody's going to be as rich as he's. Where would we get if someone would have as much money as he has - especially if he could just collect it from the Count's own mine! No, no, no, that can't be. The Count isn't a stupid person, I tell ya, no, no, sure he isn't."

Artimidor "Is it not polite to ask you about your glass eye? Because I'm tempted to know more about it..."

Jasper Esthvin "Oh", the old man gasps. "This story happened such a long time ago that it doesn't even seem real anymore. But if you are positive to know about it: It was the fault of a damned bloodworm beast, a stupid giantic bloodworm, down at the mine."

Jasper's glassy stare becomes even more absent as it is already.

Artimidor"Tell me about this... bloodworm, as you call it."

Jasper Esthvin: The wrinkles in Jasper's face are forming an earnest expression.

"Only 'ope, ya don't getta know one of these - 'cause ya look ok to me. Dumb beasties those, really dumb. But dangerous enough anyway... Got me from the back. Just out of nothing. Came to grab me, and I could only get away in the very last moment. Hit the monster with my pick, but it already got me with its sharp teeth."

He points at his eye.

"Well, that's what has happened. But at least the thing died. Ha! Wasn't a very pleasant view, I tell ya, Artimidor..."

A macabre smile touches his lips and the glass eye glistens as if to affirm the words of the old man. Somehow you suddenly feel a bit weird.

Artimidor "Is there more you know about these worms?"

Jasper Esthvin "No human being - and not even an orc - knows, where those beasts have come from, but from one day to the other they were there. Five miners were found dead on one afternoon, and five more were killed within the next days. The Count said: Let's finish this slaughter, that isn't worth it."

Jasper coughs again, fills his cheeks with a air and breathes out loudly. His shortly tightened face falls back into the usual crumpleness.

"Well, somehow I'm really happy 'bout it. Have had my peace for quite a while now," Jasper says grinning.

Artimidor "How long is the mine already closed?"

Jasper Esthvin Jasper ponders for a while.

"Hmmm... Must be five years by now. Five years, my dear! Yea, quite a while, if I think back... and I'm curious if these stupid worms are still there or if they have gone somewhere else to feed on some more guys."

Artimidor "Where is this diamond mine, Jasper?"

Jasper Esthvin "I guess, this won't help you much, if I tell you where to find it. First of all there have been lots of unusual wolf sightings reported lately around Marcogg. And second, you can't goin there. And finally, if you could get in somehow, the worms would feast on ya right away. They like fresh bood. So do me a favour and simply forget about it..."

Artimidor "Do you know perhaps, who can tell me more about the monsters roaming these lands aside from those bloodworms?"

Jasper Esthvin "If ya want to know more about monsters and their kind, just visit Dophilus. He has a lot of books, old and newly written, concerning all things you can think of. And a nice one on beasts, ya should read. With illustrations and such. Pretty scary it is."

Artimidor "Who is this Dophilus and where can I find him?"

Jasper Esthvin "Oh, this one's a clever guy. Can find him on the other end of the town, just near the tailor. And the tailor you can't miss. There are big scissors in his window."

Artimidor "Bye!"

Jasper Esthvin "Have a nice morning, boy!", the old man mumbles and plods back into his house.

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