Night Reign: Revelations

Prelude: Walk in the Dark

In Which Vincent Dismisses Insanity

Written by zero


“I was moving through the silence without motion, waiting for you
In a room with a window in the corner I found the truth."
-Joy Division
“Shadowplay”


Drev
41 Spring, 2979

Vincent Noir stepped outside of the dusty tavern, the only tavern in the backwater that was Drev. He had kept the meeting with his contact short. The locals kept giving the tiefling – an arrogant creature answering to the dubious moniker “Shiv” – nervous glances as they sat in a dark corner and conversed in low voices. The assassin had kept his cowl up to avoid drawing attention, but that hadn’t seemed to help much. The gawking farmers and fishermen only seemed more intrigued. It was a reminder why he didn’t go on social engagements for the organization. Then again, the entire trip was a constant reminder of his apparent disfavor with the commander.

The assassin suppressed a sigh and started walking down the dirt road, thinking about his next destination. He’d been ordered to Kya, the headquarters of two merchant companies funding an excursion to the shattered nation of Iso’Latarin. The assignment was straightforward enough, but he was still confused about why he had been the one given the mission. Collecting arcane treasures and gathering intelligence on whatever powers that be might exist there now seemed a task better suited to others. Vincent had no illusions about his role within the organization – he was a weapon, trained to kill when and where he was told to do so. The objective in Iso’Latarin was outside of his expertise, and he silently cursed himself for not being clever enough to figure out the reason he had been sent.

He kept to the shadows as he passed by several wooden houses, passively alert for threats in darkened spaces near the the ramshackle buildings that served as homes and businesses in Drev. His mind was constantly assimilating the things he saw and heard for use in case he should come under attack. It was this healthy sense of paranoia that had kept him alive and made him such a successful killer, and the link he’d forged with Vorgard in another life had only heightened his senses. He was always searching for the advantages to exploit all around him. There was nothing to endanger him on the streets of this fish-smelling burg. Petty criminals might exist, but even if they noticed the assassin they were not about to assault him. Ordinary people tended to instinctively avoid him, and he used that to his advantage.

Vincent shoved all of these thoughts to the back of his mind and considered a lantern he saw through the window of a house across the street. The shutters had not been fully closed, and the assassin paused momentarily as a shadow briefly interposed itself between him and the dim light. A man had crossed the room and sat at a table to prepare food of some sort. Vincent watched the human cut vegetables with a practiced hand for several moments, and just as he was about to turn away and continue walking the man looked up from his work at something across the table. A small child clambered up to sit at the table next to the man, and he smiled down at it and tousled its hair.

I smile down at him as he reaches for the knife and say, “Be careful, son. The blade is sharp.”

Vincent blinked. Another stray thought…or perhaps a memory. He tore his gaze away from the lighted window and continued toward the edge of town. The flashes had started shortly before he had been assigned to this expedition. The assassin had no idea what they were or why they were happening, but he suspected that his commander had learned of them somehow. That was his best guess about why he’d been sent away – the commander had found out about the visions and decided he was going mad. Then she had thrown the defective weapon away, putting him as far from herself as possible.

It was a reasonable reaction. Even the small mystic who had effected Vincent’s rebirth – or creation – had not fully understood the process. They had been experimenting with an artifact that they knew little about. The assassin was told that he had volunteered to be exposed to the relic as part of a new initiative for the organization. He had no memory of his life before waking up on the stone slab in the little arcanist’s laboratory. He and the other volunteers – called revenants by the mage – were tougher and swifter than most, and those traits made them better weapons. But there had been…side effects.

His sleep had always been plagued by troubling dreams, though most of the time the details faded immediately after waking. The flashes of memory – if memory it was – interrupting his waking thoughts was new. The flashes never made any sense to Vincent, either. Of course, experiencing a few seconds of someone else’s thoughts without context would be difficult for anyone to try and interpret. He thought that he masked any reactions to them well enough, but it seemed that he had not been as successful as he imagined.

He grimaced and was immediately annoyed with himself for the slip in his composure, even though there was no one around to see his expression change in the darkness. Stalking out of Drev, he continued his trek toward Kya. Either he was going mad or he wasn’t. It made little difference to the mission. He would do everything in his power to complete it and bring back enough plunder and information to purchase the good graces of his commander once more.

Or he would die trying.


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