Chapter 41 - Promises & Resolutions

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Scene 1 - TITLE

Alisaar introduces Aurax
Meets the General who has killed 2 Astral Stalkers
The Metallic & Chromatic dragonborn react to the "awakening" Aurax inspires
Alisaar departs for the Imperial City

Scene 2 - TITLE


Scene 3 - A Brief Respite

Arthus could hardly believe the position he found himself in. He wondered to himself how he ended up there then mumbled “Oh, right.” He lifted his head off the iron plate, sensing some magical energies still flowing through it. In another flash of bravado, he attuned his will to those energies and once he had them measured, focused his thoughts on Targus the Master Artificer.

The cold metal plate rippled as if it were liquid, and soon an image crystallized in front of Arthus. He was looking up at a cavern ceiling and could see the glow of fires from below. He could hear the sounds of someone grumbling and so he called out.

“Forgive my interruption Master Artificer.”

“What the hell?” Targus spit as he grabbed his scrying device and placed it in front of him. “You’ve got balls boy, I’ll give you that.” He said flatly, still not looking up from his workbench.

“More balls than brains I’ve been told!” Arthus chuckled.

“You were told right!” Targus answered. Arthus wasn’t sure if he was starting to warm to him or not.

Arthus dove in, realizing that the energies in the device were not going to linger much longer. “I have to admit, I think I had the wrong idea about you. You seem a conscientious sort, not the warmonger I’d been led to expect.”

At that Targus dropped his tinkering and looked Arthus square in the eyes. “Excuse me!”

Arthus threw up his hands and quickly continued “Like I said, it was my misunderstanding, but I still had a few things to discuss and thought it best to do so outside of the open council.”

“Spit it out then, boy.” Targus grumbled.

Arthus considered what he should say for a moment and decided to ‘just spit it out.’ “Fine. The truth is that I have quite enough to do and very little time to do it in, so it would be a great help if I didn’t have to worry about tripping over Flint every time I turn around.”

“And what does that have to do with me?” Asked Targus clearly waiting for another reason to spout off at the over privileged Seeker.

“Well, it was my impression that he was shadowing me under your direction.” Arthus said matter-of-factly.

“And what gave you that impression?” Targus asked.

“That’s what he told me!” Arthus revealed, hoping to redirect the dwarf’s aggression.

“He WHAT!?!” Yelled Targus.

“Well not in so many words, but there could be no mistaking his meaning.” Arthus replied calmly, happy to see Targus getting the picture.

“Well what words did he use exactly?” Demanded the dwarf.

“The language of our trade, subtlety, innuendo, you know how important these things are in our world. Unfortunately Flint has a problem keeping his ego in check, so he went on about how promises were made, rewards agreed upon, favors exchanged, and so on.”

Targus grumbled and cursed in his own tongue not aware that Arthus could understand just how upset he was.

“Of course, he was quite clear about the black folder that’s been collected on yours truly.”

Targus smirked just a bit as his eyes flashed at a black leather-bound collection of parchment.

“Is it possible, Master Targus…” Arthus continued in a sympathetic tone, “That someone else is pulling your puppet’s strings?”

“I don’t know, but I will find out.” Targus dwelled on his thoughts for a few moments and continued “You will have no interference from Flint or anyone else on my account Seeker. No go do your job.”

“Thank you Master Targus.”

The image faded with Targus picking up his tinkering and then tossing it aside in disgust.
The magic ebbed from the scrying device and Arthus breathed a heavy sigh of relief. “That went well!” He reassured himself.

Arthus climbed the ladder back up to the Towering Oak and reappeared behind the bar. He closed the trap door, which faded seamlessly into the floorboards with a whisper of illusory magic. Arthus appropriated a bottle of whiskey from a locked cabinet, cleaned out a crystal tumbler, and poured himself a drink.

Savoring what he felt was a well-deserved belt of whiskey, Arthus began to pen a short letter to Velenia. He found it difficult to suppress his concern for her latest mission as everything he knew about the ranks of the Infiltrators, which wasn’t much, was unsettling.

“You looked stunning in red,” Arthus scribbled, referring to the ornate red sash of the Infiltrators. “But I’ve always preferred you in green!”

“I won’t ask about the mission, but can you say how long you’ll be away?” Arthus had heard stories of some operatives going under deep cover for years at a time, the thought of which caused him physical pain.

After a few moments, Velenia replied. “I have to say I am as impressed as ever with your decorum!” she wrote, clearly jabbing at him for his behavior in council chambers. “The right clothes for the right job, some of us have to play by the rules!”

“Leave it to you to convince the Council that they don’t have things as well in hand as they thought. The problem is now you have to produce! Sometimes I think you’re too charming for your own good!”

Arthus nodded to himself and replied “You would know better than anyone! Which reminds me, I know it was your wisdom that your patron echoed in her decision and not her own. I won’t let you down.”

“You’re damn right you won’t!” Came Velenia’s reply.

Arthus smiled and responded “So, how long?”

“When does the wine season end?” She replied. “At least I’ll be back with my people.”

Velenia explained that she would be infiltrating the house of Saerloonian following a lead on an artifact of unknown power.

“Rumor has it that there is a phylactery that is passed somehow from mother to daughter, so I may have to produce a child.” She stated flatly hoping to raise her fiancée’s ire. It worked.

Arthus, not willing to admit that the idea of being so dedicated to the mission made him bristle quipped back “Well, if you want a child that badly I would be happy to oblige!”

A long silence passed, as each of them toyed with how far to push the other. In the end it was the same as always.

“Be careful, the Saerloonians are not all who they seem.” Arthus began. “Remember what I told you about the warehouse.”

“I understand, thanks for the warning.” She responded. “You have a more treacherous road ahead I think, but still, if you find yourself in Elsewyr…”

Arthus smiled and wrote back “Well, I do have a whole month to undo the Witch Queen who has terrorized the world for the last 2500 years, I’m sure I’ll be able to spare a few days to visit!”

“Keep safe, maela.” She responded.

“I’ll see you soon, we can share a bottle of the Saerloonian ’63, I hear it’s the crown jewel of their craft.”

A resounding crash sent Arthus leaping instinctively over the bar. He landed in a crouch and reached up to retrieve his glass and the bottle of spirits. He angled himself to get a look at the intruders in the mirror behind the bar, four Blackguard stood in the center of the long abandoned bar room. Arthus steadied himself and faded from all sight.

“Did you hear something?” One of the men asked nervously. “No.” replied the others in turn, each getting more frustrated with their nervous companion.

“Do you have it?” another asked.

“Of course I have it!” yet a third snapped back.

“So now what?”

“We sell whatever we can and burn everything else to the ground.”

Arthus’ finished his whiskey in a final gulp and dropped his hands down to the pommels of his swords.


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Chapter 40 - Confrontations

Back to Books

Chapter 42 - Reintroductions


last edited by CaptainMonstrousCaptainMonstrous

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