Noir Entry 6

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“Oh my eyes for the sins I may not shed,
Burn like coals inside my head,
Smoldering black and flaming red.”
-Echo and the Bunnymen
“Flaming Red”

Beneath Iso’Farsh
56 Summer, 2979

Vincent watched while the giants cleared the icy stones from the back of the chamber where the dark knight had escaped him. He brooded on the loss, unsure of how the man had managed such a feat. Always before when his blade had struck the final blow on any victim, he was able to draw in their essence completely, destroying the link between body and soul and drawing great strength from the latter. It was just not possible!

“Impossible!” she growls, glaring down at someone just out of sight. “What have you done, you fool?”

I turn my head and a small man comes into view, cowering under the woman’s wrath. She seems familiar to me, but I simply cannot place her. “H-he volunteered!” insists the small man. “This is what he wanted!” He grasps desperately in his pockets for a few seconds, before producing a small scrap of now sweat-stained parchment and offering it up with a trembling hand.

The woman snatches the page and scans the content, her eyes making a good show of attempting to burn the parchment to ash with the fury of her gaze. “It bears your seal, m’lady,” whines the halfling – the word comes to mind unbidden to describe the small man.

Vincent blinked, snapping back to the present from the strange vision. The woman was the Commander, he knew that. Why hadn’t he known her then? The slightest downturn of one side of his mouth was the only betrayal of his discomfiture. His eyes slowly drifted up to see that a path had been cleared, and the cushani were speaking with a mortally wounded silver dragon.

The assassin caught snatches of the conversation – in Draconic, which he understood – the wyrm desired death, but it bore a cursed mark that would condemn its soul and possibly make it an immediate threat. The cushani talked into holding out long enough for the wizard to perform the ritual he had used to restore Chaus and Pen when they’d been turned to stone – apparently the magic could remove other afflictions, as well.

Suffering an acute lack of interest in the proceedings, Vincent stepped off to the side to serve as passive sentry and consider his own concerns. Why hadn’t he known the Commander? After the mark of the Winter Wyrm had been removed from the dragon and it had passed on, the party made its way slowly back to the shore to await the boat that would take their collected treasure back to the ship.

. . .

Ruins of Iso’Farsh
57 Summer, 2979

Vincent led the treasure hunters back through the city streets in the direction of the manor that Doyle had said might house another dragon hoard. En route, they encountered their competitors, who appeared to have gained a few new battle scars of their own. They exchanged a few brief pleasantries, then continued on their way. The assassin approached the ruined door of the manor cautiously, but as he attempted to pull the shattered portal open, he looked up to see the gleaming red eye of a large red dragon.

He had no time to think before the wyrm breathed out, enveloping all of them in hellish flames. The relentless creature swiftly subdued the adventurers’ collective will and breathed fire once more, and Vincent felt a strange surge of something he had never before experienced – exhilaration. The unknown elements of this ruined city, the pure chaos of its many dangerous denizens were proving to be a challenge never offered by the streets of Shalforth. There, his position and the laws of the land kept most of the populace in balance. Here, everything was unbalanced, and the assassin was enjoying the thrill of that uncertainty.

As he fought for his life against this natural born killer, he began to realize that he had become stagnant during what he could remember of his life. And that was another thing – he was starting to remember more. His dreams, ever troubling and murky, had been more vibrant during his rest cycle at the ship. He knew why he hadn’t known the Commander… The fight grew more heated, slamming him back to the present, until suddenly he saw an opening in the dragon’s defenses. In that moment of opportunity, he claimed the wyrm’s life. The magical sigils on its scales scrolled up the length of his blade before he absorbed the red’s soul.

The shadow of a smile crept across the assassin’s face before fading like a ghost.

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Noir Entry 6

Night Reign: Revelations zero