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The Merchant Murders

Discounted Death

Written by Endrise

It's not uncommon to get mugged or robbed here in Faramund, but even I had some fear for what happened when Cheapskate terrorised the city. Even now I refuse to go outside without some form of bodyguard.
— Nicolas Sauter

The Merchant Murders were a series of assassinations on several known merchants in the city of Faramund. Having become a bit of a legend for any foolish trader on the capital's marketplace, it has also been one of the port's most infamous cases. Some have tried finding out about the murderer known only by the name "Cheapskate", with many attempts leading to dead ends.

The Murders

The Merchant Murders took place around half a century ago, in the span of 6 months. Cheapskate went ahead and in total accumulated over 6 recorded murders, with potentially a few more being plausible according to missing cases.

Below is a list of the recorded murders:

  • Gunter Bjorn, age 44, trader in exotic animals and familiars. Cause of death: mauled by his animals.
  • Afeef al-Taha, age 34, merchant in spices from the south. Cause of death: force-fed spices, leading to severe tissue inflammation.
  • James "The Rat" Deepheart, age 22, drug dealer in the city's slums. Cause of death: drug overdose.
  • Uvolyn and Barimron Berylriver, ages 97 and 112, a Dwarven couple that sold gems and minerals mined from Nõrdlann. Cause of death: killed in their sleep, piercing a gem shard in each of their chests.
  • Brenton Forge, age 64, merchant of firearms and gunpowder. Cause of death: ship explosion.
  • Urufaris Farwynn, age 216, merchant of scrolls and other magic items. Cause of death: found withered away of life with a cursed amulet around her neck.
  • Legacy

    The Merchant Murders have been officially now been abandoned, seeing as it has been over 50 years since they first happened. Although it is still common for a few merchants to end up murdered, none trace back to Cheapskate themselves. Many believe they have abandoned the city entirely, leaving without much of a trace.

    It's actually a bit of a threat for people of the merchant guilds to go ahead and say "Careful you don't get a Cheapskate at your stall". Which often translates to their business going up in smoke due to an accident or something else.

    Date of First Recording
    Around 50+ years ago.
    Related Locations

    Why did the murders happen?

    Although the murderer never was caught or even identified, many grasp to the idea of their motivation to be of vengeance and anger towards the trading community. Some believe it to be a local merchant, seeing as most of the cases were traders born outside the city walls.

    More extreme conspiracies link the murders to a Demon of the Infernal Realm, believing each of the victims made a pact with it to get where they got. Although background research has denied this theory.

    If I have to be honest, it could fairly well be just another merchant trying to thin out the competition. All those merchants were under the Trade Wind Guild's terms and conditions, so perhaps he had a grudge with my mother... Who knows.
    — Nicolas Sauter

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    Cover image: by Laura Choulette


    Please Login in order to comment!
    29 Oct, 2019 10:59

    I really like how the thing became a sort of cultural moment later on at the end, talking about how a cheapskate will come to your stall. Nicely done overall :D   How does the murders tie together though? A lot of them seem pretty different (the ironic deaths at the end fit together better, but "hang" and "sliced" doesn't fit that MO) so why do people think it's a single killer?   Are there any suspects at all? Any details on the investigation? Those things might help the cold case part of it pop a bit more :)   Formatting wise, I would consider splitting the side panel paragraph in two. Maybe add another break between the quotes and the next sentence, since they a little cramped right now.   "Discounted death" is a pretty rad subtitle. I like it :D

    Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.   Current challenge article: Corporate Mascot Costumes!