Order of Merchant Keymasters

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Order of Merchant Keymasters
Deity Pell, God of Wealth
Domains Earth, Law, Nobility, Protection, Travel
Races Any (Humans)
Classes Any (Clerics)
Alignments Lawful Neutral
Holy Days Traditional
Place of Worship Pell's Altar
Holy Symbol Mithril Key
High Priestess Ella Dunthorpe
Major Temple Hall of Merchants (Teufeldorf)

The Order of Merchant Keymasters is the clerical arm of the Merchant's Guild - directly tending the altar to Pell, God of Wealth. The Keymasters are the only ones allowed to enter the altar area in the Hall of Merchants. Some Keymasters travel the Realm with messages from Pell to their merchant families - oftentimes taking on leadership or business roles for their patrons. Some Keymasters accumulate great wealth of their own, although their primary power is that of information and knowledge of the mercantile trading of the great families.

Clerics so inclined to join the Order of Merchant Keymasters should speak with Tam Blackburn, the current secular head of the Merchant's Guild in Teufeldorf and managing director of Blackburn & Sons. Initiation is said to include a number of tests of honesty and loyalty.

The Legend of Pell

The dawn of the fifth century TA brought an explosion of interest in trade and commerce to the City-State of Teufeldorf. The Orcish Wars over, the sea lanes reopened and merchant ships arrived eager to reestablish relationships with the burgeoning Merchant's Guild of the city. The wharves soon rang with the accents, smells and sounds of faraway lands. Many of the wealthy houses of the Reaches were established in these days - some by hard work, others by luck, and some by treachery. The vast wealth of some of these families exists to this day - forming the backbone of Teufeldorf high society.

The family Blackburn enjoyed some success as cargo shippers during this time - having three ships each captained by one of the three sons of Bertrand Blackburn. The Blackburn ships had proven loyalty to the City-State during the war, running supplies north to the garrison at Timberway retuning with much-needed lumber. As such, the family was granted a townhouse and several large warehouses in the wharves after the war.

According to the records of Blackburn & Sons, Bertrand met with a Tang agent named Pell on May 3, 412 TA. Pell, a nondescript ratman, persuaded Bertrand to send all three of his ships east to the wilderlands to purchase a recently-discovered bean - called coffee. Three shiploads of coffee beans arrived in October 412 TA, where the Blackburns learned to roast them and make a bitter drink that took the City-State by storm. Soon, the tea houses of the Old Kingdom were replaced by the coffee houses supplied by Blackburn & Sons. Merchants - sometimes called bean counters - flocked to these plush houses to conduct their business. Private coffee clubs arose and Bertrand Blackburn became a wealthy man - all thanks to a "tip" from Pell who asked nothing in return.

Over time, this story repeats many times - a mysterious Tang trader named Pell gives a merchant a "tip" which turns into gold. Attempts to follow Pell and learn his secrets fail. His appearance is random, and his trail always cold.

As his legend grew, the merchants built the largest and most opulent coffee house in Teufeldorf - the Hall of Merchants. Towards the back, a small, private room was erected - more of an altar - to Pell. The room was lined with wooden cubbyholes - in which merchants left offerings of gold and gems along with a small note asking Pell for guidance. A hot cup of coffee was left each morning on a small round table at the center of the room. One day - in late 453 TA - the coffee cup was emptied and some of the offering cubbyholes contained only a small envelope with a short written note from Pell. News spread quickly throughout the merchant quarters - the most wealthy families in Teufeldorf vied to purchase a cubbyhole - their own private altar to Pell. Quickly, the Merchant's Guild became a major player in the power structure of Teufeldorf. The cubbyholes were sealed with formidable mithril locks, and the Order of Merchant Keymasters - clerics in Pell's service - was founded.

While Pell has not been seen for 450 years, the Merchant's Guild still wields considerable power and the Hall of Merchants is still the active center of commerce for Teufeldorf. The altar to Pell is tended by the Order of Merchant Keymasters - men and women of unquestionable loyalty and discretion. These clerics relay messages from the altar to the merchant families of Teufeldorf and beyond. Keymasters can be found in most of the trading centers of the Realm - some negotiating contracts and other matters of law. Others work privately for the wealthiest of families - looking after their interests and investments.