Night Reign: Revelations
Noir Entry 1
“Mountains of madness standing so tall.
Rising so proudly. It has nowhere to fall.”
“Killer of Giants”
Kya, Karsari Federation
49 Summer, 2979
Vincent Noir accepted the invitation from the strange man with some distaste. He was used to clandestine meetings and private meetings to acquire the details of his engagements. This was far more…mundane. Then again, he thought, perhaps the mundanity itself was an excellent cover. He decided to ponder this possibility when he had more time later. He had thought that he would need to try harder not to be noticed while in the city, because he assumed he would be the most exotic being there. This was proven wrong within short order.
Aside from Kang, the boisterous former star of the local gladiator circuit, several other larger-than-life humanoids walked openly through the city’s streets. The assassin made it his business to be aware of each person who had received an invitation to compete in the treasure hunt. Apparently, a mercenary group known as the Winter Blades had each received one, and they would likely be working together, assuming they were selected by the same company. The others consisted of a pair of cushani and two local businessmen whose races Vincent could not identify.
The meeting was scheduled for the following evening, so the assassin secured several places of lodging, and selected one at the last minute to take his rest.
Sea Spirit Inn, Kya
50 Summer, 2979
The day was uneventful, and as evening approached Vincent found himself in a dark corner of the tavern. He nursed a drink so that the proprietor didn’t try to run him out for loitering and practiced one of the things he did best – waiting patiently. All of the invitees gradually made their way into the bar before the meeting time, and it was then the assassin noticed that the Winter Blades all had the same tattoo somewhere on their bodies. The others also had something in common – they all stood several inches taller than him, most over seven feet in height.
The meeting got underway, and a representative of the Black Lance company introduced the men from Cottle and Sarns, explaining the basics of the teams to be selected. The Cottle rep sniped the Winter Blades as a package deal, leaving Sarns with the giants and Vincent. The oily man introduced himself as Doyle Sarns and explained what the competitors had to gain – 30% of all goods recovered from Iso’Latarin. The group that brought back the lesser amount of loot still stood to gain 15% of the total haul, so there wasn’t much to lose – assuming they didn’t get themselves killed.
There were questions, of course, and Doyle answered them to the satisfaction of all. He could only give details to those who had agreed to compete for Sarns Trading Company, and since Vincent’s entire mission hinged on infiltrating Iso’Latarin, he agreed. Once everyone had done so, Doyle went over the particulars of the game, and instructed them to meet at the ship called Leviathan the following morning. A room had been provided for each of the competitors, but the assassin decided to lodge elsewhere for the evening to make it difficult for the Cottle company members to cheat by causing an “accident” to happen to him.
Leviathan, Sea of Shadows
51 Summer, 2979
Once they were at sea, Doyle called the group in to discuss a tip he’d received during the night. At least three dragons were said to have taken up residence within Iso’Farsh, and considering the nature of such creatures, it seemed likely that they would have stockpiled treasure. Rather than poking through the ruins hoping for bits and scraps, the group could instead seek out these hoards and either steal them or take them as spoils once they killed the dragons guarding them. He gave them three possible locations to consider once they’d arrived, then left them to their own devices warning only that if they heard a bell, they were to remain in their bunks below deck.
Kang struck up a conversation with most of the other treasure hunters, but the cushani called Chaus excused himself to go fishing, and Vincent took the opportunity to slip out and case the ship. He’d never been comfortable at sea, and he was even less so confined to a small, closed space that he couldn’t control. Once he’d memorized the layout of the ship, he went up on deck and stood nearby as the huge cat-man worked a fishing rod that he must have borrowed from one of the sailors.
Vincent studied Chaus quietly for a time, but he found himself wanting to ask the cushani about himself. Unsure why he would have such a desire, he rationalized it as trying to learn more about the man’s capabilities. Knowledge of one’s allies could only serve the assassin in the field. They got to talking, and Chaus even provided a demonstration of his power, pulling Vincent via teleport far across the deck to right beside the large cushani. Impressed with the trick, the revenant decided that here, at least, was a competent ally.
Ruins of Iso’Farsh
55 Summer, 2979
Vincent had spent the rest of the trip avoiding Kang’s efforts to draw him into conversation with the others. Now that Doyle had dropped them off ashore and given them the time parameters, should they desire to return to the ship to rest during the night, he had no choice but to interact with everyone. Fortunately, they all seemed focused on the task at hand. It was decided to seek out the ruins of the university, one of the locations Doyle’s sources had indicated as a dragon’s lair.
As they neared the ruins, it became quickly apparent that the city had not remained unoccupied. Squatters of various savage races congregated in different areas, much like street gangs in Shalforth, but with none of the order imposed by the government or organized criminal elements. Rather than waste time fighting their way through hundreds of useless and imagined territory disputes, they decided to move straight to their destination as swiftly and silently as possible. Vincent took point and led them through a series of back alleys for several minutes.
They took to the rooftops as they drew nearer their objective and stopped when they came upon a ritual or feast in progress – in the courtyard of the buildings they were trying to reach. It seemed that a full herd of minotaurs was hosting a barbecue, and the main course – gnolls on spits – was roasting over open flames. The combined smells of the bovine giants and the cooking hyena-men was atrocious, and the assassin did not relish staying near the celebration for much longer. Fortunately, Chaus’ keen eyes were able to spot an ignored alley that would grant them access to the university buildings. A few minutes later, they made their entrance.
An ogre had set up camp at the far side of the huge chamber, and two dire bears sporting spiked collars sniffed and drooled at the creature cooking on the camp fire. They thought it best to silence the creatures, lest they raise an alarm and bring any of the gangs to their aid. The treasure hunters crossed the floor and engaged the ogre and his pets, bringing them down with little trouble. Vincent leapt from shadow to shadow remaining out of sight for most of the encounter and only appearing to open up a gushing wound on one of the creatures with his jagged fullblade. As the last of the dire bears fell, the assassin cleaned his blade, then set it back into the ruby sheath on his back.
He gazed at each of his companions in turn. Not a one of them had exhibited any weakness, and they’d adapted quickly to each the others’ preferred tactics. The assassin nodded to himself as Chaus plucked a fist-sized diamond from the ogre’s belongings. The competition, at least, might not be such a challenge, leaving him time to pursue his true objective. Yes, Iso’Latarin might just provide him with the opportunity he needed to redeem himself in the Commander’s eyes.
|Next Entry >>|