One summer afternoon the fellowship hear of a murder in Lake-Town and soon after they are called to the presence of the Master. Upon arrival at the Town-Hall the fellowship, made up of Polo, Ulthraine, and Brynjarr, are informed that Ash, a merchant with a dark reputation was found dead at his home this very afternoon. Word has got out and the streets of Lake-Town are in uproar.
Ash was not well-liked by the people of Esgaroth, but he was still a citizen and a survivor of Smaug’s attack. The people of Esgaroth have a deep sense of community and anything to disrupt that is not good for trade or the morale of the town. The Master asks the fellowship if hey can track down Jorgun, Ash’s chief man who was seen running from the house at about the time of the murder. Ash was repeatedly stabbed, but there was no sign of forced entry to his home. Jorgun has gone missing, but no one has seen him leave Lake-Town.
It’s important that Ash’s murderer is brought to justice quickly, before the people of Lake-Town start to panic, or before Jorgun attacks again!
Finally the Master tells the fellowship that Ash was known to employ Jonar, Kelmund and Finnar, a trio of small-time mercenaries and body guards that are regularly seen in the mead halls of the town looking for work.
Agreeing to help, the fellowship head to the streets of Esgaroth, and soon find Jonar, Kelmund and Finnar, in The Black Arrow inn, at the edge of Market Square, overlooking Market-Pool. The three men are seen discussing something with an old man and his young son, but the man soon leaves after reaching an agreement with Jonar, the leader of the ruffians.
The fellowship question the three, ignoring their hints for a bribe, and ultimately threatening them if they refuse to admit what they know. Cowed, Kelmund admits he may have inadvertently caused Ash’s death by telling him what about the gem that Jorgun found.
Kelmund tells the fellowship that a few weeks ago, Jorgun and the trio, in a moment of daring and greed, decided to dredge the cursed black waters near the bones of the dragon Smaug, which still sits rotting in the shallows across the lake. There, they found nothing and left before night came and, so they said, the remains would draw the attention of evil spirits. Within a few days they noticed a change in Jorgun, he became sick, and started ranting about his find. He became even more selfish and covetous than normal and they heard that he had started to beat his wife Lana. Finally he admitted to Kelmund that he had found a gem in the waters and had kept it to himself – he would soon be richer than Ash and the Master of Lake-Town put together. Jorgun refused to share the treasure and quickly became violent – attacking Kelmund before he managed to escape.
More in a fit of jealously than anything else, Kelmund told Ash – hoping that Ash would take the gem off Jorgun and give him coin for telling him of it. Kelmund now suspects that Ash challenged Jorgun and was killed by him in a fit of madness – no doubt brought on by Dragon-sickness.
Learning of this tale, the fellowship, head to the home of Lana, fish-wife of Jorgun, but she refuses them entry, telling them to come in the morning when the sun has risen.
The following morning they speak to Lana, and her daughter Elsa, but are initially refused entry. It’s clear that Lana is petrified with fear. Polo manages to convince her to let the fellowship enter her home and help them understand what has happened.
Lana explains that since a trip to the Stairs of Girion (no doubt his excuse for his boating across to the bones of the wyrm), Jorgun has become violent and sick with some madness. Yesterday morning he received a message from Ash telling Jorgun to attend him at his home. Jorgun left then, but returned late last night covered in dried blood. He swept through their home, ignored Lana’s protestations or the crying of Elsa, grabbed his bag and left. All he said was ‘there must be others, there must’. He was mad – his words making no sense to her, and considering the state of him, Lana is concerned that her husband is involved in the death of Ash. She has not seen him since.
Suspecting the worst, the fellowship head to the ruins of Smaugs bones. long considered a cursed place.
There, resisting the darkness which seeks to corrupts the soul of the unwary, they find and confront Jorgun who is sweeping for more dragon gems. The fellowship overcome and capture Jorgun, now completely mad and take from him the large gem which must have been one of the many embedded in the chest of the great wyrm. They themselves are tempted, but the fellowship manage to resist the temptation to take it for themselves and so they cast it back into the black waters where it will hopefully remain hidden until the end of days.
Jorgun returns to Esgaroth where he is found guilty by the Master of the murder of Ash. He is hanged from the gates of Lake-Town for all to see – a warning to others of the threat of Dragon Sickness and the darkness that it brings with it.