In the bustling City of Splendors, Waterdeep, the Moon family runs the most established and far-reaching series of shops of general goods, as well as a very respected Apothecary, supplying balms, salves, and elixirs of every description. Elwina Inglorion was an exceptional Elf from one of the most prominent families in the WesterWood. Her talent at healing was preternatural, even among the Elven folk. No living creature ever died under her care, even from the most heinous wounds. So, it broke her Father’s heart when she took to a life of adventuring and danger-seeking with that Human. That Human was none other than Captain Henry “AKA Howling Henry, AKA The Sea Wolf” Moon; Merchant Marine, Privateer to the Crown, Ruthless Pirate, (what’s in a name?). Henry had forged a Legend in his own time as being impossible to kill. Many had witnessed Henry receive wounds that should have ended his thieving, and yet he would saunter into a tavern barely a week later, with hardly a scratch on him. Laughing and bragging about how the wound was nothing. A few close comrades knew that Henry’s nigh invulnerable reputation was exclusively due to Elwina’s healing ability. But only Elwina and Henry knew that the reason for Henry’s injuries was selflessly throwing himself in harm’s way to protect Elwina, the only thing he valued more than treasure.
Speaking of treasure, it was his spoils that financed his business interests when he and Elwina wed. Moon and Co has serviced the lands up and down the Sword Coast for decades. Although there are those who still doubt the legitimacy of Henry’s suppliers, once a Pirate, always a Pirate. But it has been Moon and Company that has supplied thousands of fellow adventurers for their quests and campaigns, all over the globe.
It is no small wonder that their offspring Ethelas would eventually be drawn to adventuring. Apprenticed as a shopkeeper in his younger years, Ethelas learned the arts of Barter, Appraisal, Haggle, etc. He spent years watching his Father “negotiate” with business partners and establish new trade routes and new markets in remote regions. He also took note of his Father’s business associates, and learned the lingo of those in the buying/selling trades. He also learned that not all transactions were the business of the City Officials and the Tax Collector. He learned that EVERYTHING has a price, and everything has a buyer. But the most important lesson he learned was his Father’s Creed: “If you have a choice between someone owing you money, or owing you a favor, ALWAYS TAKE THE FAVOR!!”
As an example his Father explained the origin of the Scarab Blue Sabre on his side. He once had a companion who had foolishly placed The Crown of Regrets upon his head. Being a cursed item, it could not be removed except by limited wish or greater magic. Henry was able to find a being capable of such magic and release The Crown. Owing Henry more than any fortune he possessed the man agreed to owe Henry a Favor.
One year later, Henry came across the man working in a Magical Blacksmith’s shop. Above the mantle was a magnificient Scarab Blue Sabre. The sword is virtually priceless, imbued with Elemental Aura and Vorpal abilities, and could once per day summon a Phantom Steed. Henry explained that turning over the sword would satisfy the favor, or he could place the Crown of Regrets on the man’s only son, or perhaps his wife. The man submitted to Henry’s request. Henry explained to Ethelas, had he settled for something as trivial as Gold, it would have been long spent years ago and of no use today, but because of choosing the favor, he has a unique weapon of constant usefulness.
Ethelas also learned Intimidation, whether of other merchants or negotiating contracts, or controlling Underlings and Hired Help as well as Collecting Debts and Repossession. He learned that more things can be accomplished with a little Blackmail, in lieu of dozens of hired thugs. And the sheer beauty of planting incriminating evidence on someone who had double-crossed you and watching them try to explain their way out of a lengthy prison sentence.
Ethelas was well-known in the affluent circles of Merchants and High Society. To the casual passerby, or less astute citizenry he came across as a spoiled Merchant’s son with extravagant tastes as showcased by his gambling, gaudy jewelry, lavish clothing, and penchant for staying out all hours of the night.
But the Truth was he was just as well-known in the Underground world of Pirates, Thieves, and Assassins. He was schooled by Master Locksmiths, Infamous Cat Burglars, Notorious Gamblers, and Legendary Assassins. An enemy could be swiftly dealt with from the Shadows, instead of the clumsy head on approach of those ironclad Fighters. Or the score could be settled with a little poison in a wine goblet, and no one would suspect foul play at all.
He exhausted his amusement at prowling the city, breaking into forbidden places, and swindling every sap stupid enough to gamble with him. It was the lure of adventure and exploration that drew him from comforts of the city and set him on his path in World.
The promise of mountains of wealth, like his Father had amassed, was an almost irresistible draw. So it was that when word reached the Moons that the monthly profits from Daggerfall were almost a week and a half overdue with no word from the shopkeeper, Ethelas was all too eager to embark on journey to the little town to investigate the goings on.
After a week on the road, Ethelas came to the edge of Daggerfall and quickly found the shop abandoned and most all the goods within looted. Looking for the Constable, Ethelas learned from a few padfoots that the Constable and the shopkeeper had been dragged into the woods and murdered by a band of Half-Orcs wearing the emblem of the Amn Thieves Guild. They assured Ethelas that the local bandits had far too much respect for Henry Moon to dare defile his business, and it was counter to their needs as the Moon Mercantile also served as the nearest Fence. Now they would have to travel all the way to Baldur’s Gate to trade their stolen goods. It was no secret that the Kingdom of Amn had designs on Baldur’s Gate and the lands North, so perhaps the Guild of Amn wanted to start a Trade War with the Moons. Or perhaps a third party wanted it to “appear” that way and play both sides against the middle?
As Ethelas plotted his next moves and sent a courier back to Waterdeep to keep his Father informed of the goings-on, he was approached in the Tavern of the Wyvern by a young, stout Gnome who introduced himself as Cedric Blackwood, the Nephew of Barnabas Blackwood. Cedric wanted to become the new shopkeeper in Daggerfall.
Now, there was a name Ethelas remembered from his Father’s tales of high adventure. Barnabas Blackwood was the Gnome that Henry Moon traded his stolen spoils with, almost exclusively, during his pirating years. Henry referred to him as a “cantankerous little shit, but never a more trustworthy bastard you’d ever find.” Barnabas profited like never before in his dealings with the Moons, enough that he tolerated the insults and tricks that the Elder Moon always seemed to be in overabundance of. Blackwood also made so much coin that he never took insult to Henry getting out of the pirating business and becoming a competitor. As most good Thieves knew, there was always enough go around. Barnabas apparently had moved to Baldur’s Gate and set up shop in order to keep more distance between Henry and himself.
Ethelas welcomed Cedric into the Moon Merchant Empire, and asked as to the whereabouts of Barnabas. Cedric informed Ethelas how to find his Uncle, and then set to rebuilding the broken door and preparing for resupply from Waterdeep. Cedric would make a good loyal employee.
Upon reaching Baldur’s Gate at the end of the month, Ethelas made the acquaintance of Barnabas and immediately understood everything his Father had ever said about the surly old Gnome. Gruff and impolite, and always with an attitude that you were only there to bother him and waste his time. Literally, just as his Father had described.
Through Barnabas, Ethelas learned of the recent hostilities between the Merchants of Baldur’s Gate and those in the Kingdom of Amn. So, Amn did want a War with the Moons, so be it.
After a couple days, a courier arrived from Waterdeep. The Elder Moon was gathering forces to address this threat from Amn, and the Father had bid his Son best wishes in his own adventures, and reassured the Son that the Enemies in Amn would be dealt with, personally. Henry expressed to his Son that untold riches lie undiscovered and that a trivial trade war wasn’t worth squandering Prime adventuring years on. Not only that, but the skills and experience Ethelas could gain out in the World would be far more valuable than all the skills he currently possessed.
With that sentiment, Ethelas set out to gain fame and fortune. Months later, he found himself on the continent of Aesomel carrying out Mercenary work with a band of adventurers. What life has in-store for Ethelas is anyone’s guess.