The adventurers stepped over the corpses of a half-dozen Moarsmen, boasting and joking with each other at the carnage they had wrought. It was a mixed group of archers, mages, and warriors, and together they had made short work of every group they encountered on this island, leaving behind a festering pile of dead, stinking Moarsmen. They picked over the corpses for tiny shards, but curiously enough left most of the valuable, but heavy, loot behind.
Andaric the Unlucky had no such compunctions against collecting heavy pieces of treasure. As he had done a dozen times already on this excursion, he waited until the group had moved out of earshot, then crept out of the shadow of the large rock behind which he'd been hiding during the group's slaughter of the Moarsman camp. Andaric was well practiced at moving stealthily, but even a sneak of his skill could not completely quiet the clank and rustle of his multiple packs, stuffed with armor and weapons.
Keeping one eye out for trouble, Andaric rooted through the pile of treasure the adventurers had not seen fit to examine more closely. He sucked in his breath when he noticed the gleaming edge of a breastplate of Covenant armor beneath a great sticky glob of Moarsmuck. He cleaned away the goo and examined the breastplate closely, trying to keep his focus as he sensed the enchantments on the armor. When he saw what spells were bound to the breastplate, he almost fainted.
“I've never seen these enchantments together on a piece of Covenant,” he murmured to himself. “Been like that all day today. At last my luck is changing for the better!” Looking around again to make sure he was in no danger, he brushed more dirt from the breastplate and lifted into his least full pack. He scrounged around in the pile and found a few more noteworthy pieces, mostly jewelry and weapons. By the time he was done stuffing the desirable items in his packs, he could barely fasten the straps and one pack was so heavy he had to drag, not lift it.
Again he glanced up, trying to locate the adventurers he'd been trailing. They had moved a far distance down the beach, but one of the warriors bore a flaming sword that was visible from a long way away. That sword was presently moving very quickly, in chaotic patterns, periodically obscured by some other object. Probably the body of whatever unfortunate creature its wielder was hacking apart. Apparently they'd encountered another Moarsman camp, a couple of hundred yards away.
Andaric figured he might be able to drag himself and his packs to one more kill site to pick over the fresh pile of neglected loot, but at what risk? He'd found enough uniquely valuable pieces to ensure himself a long and decadent vacation and set himself up in a new career as an arms dealer. Sighing in satisfaction, Andaric decided not to press his luck. It was enough that he'd found more powerfully enchanted pieces of equipment on this one trip than he had in a week's worth of scrounging before. It was time to head back to the Marketplace and corner the market on Covenant armor and hiltable blades.
Smiling with satisfaction, his mind already awhirl with dreams of setting himself up as a merchant in Ayan Baqur or buying a stake in one of the black market operations at Freebooter Keep or Northwatch Castle, Andaric began the spell to portal himself back to the Marketplace. His vision blurred as purple light engulfed him. He could still see enough, however, to see the cluster of Moarsmen charging at him as he knelt amid the piled-up corpses of their dead kin.
The Moarsmen closed in on him rapidly, and even as he felt himself being yanked away by magic, he felt their flame breath washing over him, sending him charred and screaming through the warp and weft of portalspace.
He came to his senses, screaming in agony, in the middle of the Marketplace. He smiled and sighed in relief. He'd made it. He reached out and patted the multiple bulging, heavy sacks of uniquely powerful armor and weapons and jewelry that he'd accumulated. He was going to make a fortune…
He steadily became more aware of the voices around him. Vendors called out their wares in the Marketplace. Bits and pieces of shouted sales pitches drifted into his consciousness.
“You've never seen Covenant like this!”
“First pickings of the rich new armor pieces!”
“Got to see these jewels to believe them!”
“Come see these fabulous hiltable blades!”
Someone passing by recognized him and stopped to talk. “Andaric!” his friend Mushadi called out. “What happened to you?” His Gharu'ndim friend Mushadi, a travelling merchant and occasional buyer of his looted wares, stopped to help him up.
“Just… got back… from Moarsman Isle,” Andaric whispered, still in the grip of maddening pain from his burns.
“Ah, yes. You must have noticed the incredible spells that have been turning up on treasure now, eh? A dozen people have tried to peddle me some very powerfully enchanted Covenant armor already. It's getting hard to pick through the glut of what I'm being offered!”
Mushadi laughed heartily, but Andaric could only cry, and not from the pain caused by his wounds.