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    Cuchuwyn  21 hours ago

    Necro Night will start in about 1.5 hours!

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    The IC posts over the Crater Lake events for Nature Night are finally finished!

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    !lol

    It really was something..a bit like a can..that the Sandworms went into !

    Magic and Gnomish Technology to the rescue!

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    *chuckles* Love the name of the most recent NN, Scratch!

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    Hi Scratch!

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The Island of Thain :: Forums :: In Character Discussion
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Belladonna - The Beautiful Lady, a poison that can cure or kill. - Vincent Coll assassin for hire

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Rodgr Thunderguts
6:58:03 pm GMT 02/14/20
Rodgr Thunderguts Registered Member #1050 Joined: 7:35:50 am GMT 05/11/07
Posts: 350
It was an unusual contract for sure. Most of his contracts were of a more permanent nature, but he had accepted this one more out of curiosity than anything else.

Ten thousand coins to break out a woman called Miriam from a jail in Steinkres. Pretty simple really, the usual wording, “no one must see you, know it was you, or when she was freed until the morning cell checks”. He wondered why the noble had chosen a prison break, after all the guards were incompetent at best and easily bribed, but his was not to question, his word was his bond and he cared little for people's motives. In fact he cared little for anything, except more recently, his cat and the spider which seemed to never leave his side, a permanent source of debilitating poison as part of the deal with the Brood Queen.

The gnomish clock struck nine, the guards already heavily into their ale, with an overweight one who had drawn the short straw on duty, sleeping at the end of the hallway. Shadows covered his body and face and he became a whisper, new changes to his body making him like a fleeting speck of dust seen barely at the corner of your conscious awareness.

He laughed to himself as he saw the lock, made by humans and simple so that a large key would likely fit many of the locks in the cells. A drip of dwarven oil on the mechanism and hinges and the door slipped open.


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His eyes caught hers, though with his shadow form she would just see a blur. A porcelain doll was all he could think of. She was beautiful to the point of thinking she was crafted by elven mages, yet she had an age to her eyes that hinted at a harsh life and a fear of a life that will be cut short.

He gave her a potion and told her to drink it. Slowly she disappeared from sight the coin spent on the magic paying for itself. Telling her to make no sound no matter what she saw, he left the cell, locking the door as they went.

The guards did not notice a thing as they drifted past, the laughter and crackle of the fire keeping them more entertained as they tried to throw balls of rolled bread into the mouth of the snoring guard on duty. Steinkres prison guards at their finest he thought.

One alley turned to another, a disguise was donned, and less than an hour after her escape, the two “peasants” walking the back alleyways attracted not even a mew from the cats chasing rats.

The door opened and he closed it behind locking it. You will be safe here for the next three weeks when someone will come for you. Trust no one except the bearer of this coin. She leaned forward and a blade appeared at her neck faster than she could react, “Please do not touch me, my contract is done” Vince said, “I mean you no harm” he said after and put the blade away.

A tear rolled down her cheek, “They made me do it you know. The mage from Greenvale said that Hamley must fall, I had no choice”. Another tear fell.

Vince turned and just before he closed the door, said once more “Trust no one”, vanishing into the night.
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Rodgr Thunderguts
4:04:22 pm GMT 03/25/20
Rodgr Thunderguts Registered Member #1050 Joined: 7:35:50 am GMT 05/11/07
Posts: 350
It mattered not who paid him, the deals coming usually from a middle man anyway. A contract was a contract. Gold held no real value to him, he had enough to live like a king five times over, though chose a simple life often as not, with no indulgences to speak of except perhaps a blade here or there that spiked his interest.

Of late he had met someone with a similar background, though at polar ends of a social scale in terms of upbringing, though a wealthy lifestyle and a brutal upbringing was not really far different from a miserable upbringing with it’s fair share of brutality.

Empathy, this was new. He had little to no emotions when it came to life, with the exception of Whiskers the cat, who he had a bizarre affinity for, one he could only link to the fact the cat cared nothing for him, except for food and to make sure the logs were on the fire to stay warm. She had asked for lessons in tact and civility, something her leader, at least that is what he thought she was had suggested. He wondered if he should use the lessons he had learned, the ones that would let you blend in with pauper or prince. Time would tell.

He had heard no more from the emissary of Greenvale and sought new work. This contract he had received was unusual, as it was the first one he had ever taken with an open end, one where he seemed to get nothing from the bargain. He remembered the phrase never make a deal with a devil and laughed, wondering if he should have listened to himself.

The task was simple and he was of course able to carry it out without a glitch. He was however surprised to note that he had felt something, not something during the task, he would never falter whilst working, but later. Maybe spending time with people he could loosely trust had changed his outlook on life, perhaps.

The gold meant nothing, but watching from the rooftops of the adjacent building, he saw the work hands look of confusion as they picked up the gold filled bags. Of the two hundred thousand coins left, he wondered how much would be skimmed off and how much would go to the Steinkreiss Orphange. If he found those who had skimmed any, they would find themselves regretting that decision quickly enough.

It seemed it would soon be time to cash in on his side of the contract, the gem weeping in his palm, he set off to make a deal with a devil.
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Rodgr Thunderguts
4:36:30 pm GMT 04/07/20
Rodgr Thunderguts Registered Member #1050 Joined: 7:35:50 am GMT 05/11/07
Posts: 350
So much change. Life should be simple, he thought. The deal with the devil had changed Vince’s perspective on life, was it worth it he wondered shrugging? Maybe, maybe not, either way it was done. Disguised, he dropped off more gold at the orphanage under the guise of food supplies in crates not even sure why he did it.


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Contracts, he worked them independently as normal, away from the devil, often hunting with Ra’xor, one he knew he could trust; though more and more he was interested beyond just contracts and wondered what their goal was. Of course the politics between some of the factions he worked for made him chuckle. They played each other constantly, the elves, the humans, good or evil. The sum of money he had been offered to poison Kallista was vast, possibly even enough to leave the Island and start anew, perhaps he should have taken it and tried, the person offering surprised him too, but something kept him here.

Perhaps he would speak with the devil again, oddly her conversation was pleasant, perhaps her situation the reason why?


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He knew change was coming, Vincent looked the same, pleasant enough, indifferent, a grey man if you would. However, the changes to his body, perhaps due to the armour he wore, covered in strange abyssal runes, he did not understand or maybe due to the way the shadows at the corner of his sight pulled at him?. The demon spider that had bitten showed him part of the way. Gold, gems and months of frustration the rest of the way. He rubbed absently at the marks on his arm where the fangs had stopped his heart momentarily.

This change he knew was different, his mind felt different, his body more so. Cold.


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He pondered, mixing the poison in one of his many safe houses. The lesson for her would come soon. He just hoped changing his mind set was worth it, or perhaps someone was changing it for him. Either way Evan Marchbrand was a marked man and it would be good to see how she fared against such a formidable foe in the coming lesson.

The deed was done by her, exceptionally well he thought, but he had made one tiny mistake that could cost gold and lots of it. A drunk had stumbled into the Dragons Den after they had left with Marchbrand, his life already over as he stumbled with her to the cliffs edge. A cup was left on the bar, by Marchbrand, but left nonetheless, one full of silverfish venom, one that the drunk drank and smiled as the brandy took his last breath. A loose end that would not track to him, but one he was not inclined to do again, the worst thing in his eyes he could do, a mistake.

Watching Marchbrand tumble down the cliff to the waves below, he knew in a day or two when someone else was found dead, the drunk would be forgotten. It was time to find new quarters it seemed, possibly a trade?



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Kat
11:09:19 am GMT 04/09/20
Kat Registered Member #25300 Joined: 6:37:11 am GMT 06/04/19
Posts: 122
Ok, now for your lesson. *he stands facing her* You have seen the mark, but time is of the essence, he will leave shortly, but you must not let him. Here, put this in a drink, make sure you have at least three drinks with him and get his name. Time -is- of the essence. *he eyes her and then the mark.* The clock is ticking.

Her heart beats so fast, it had been such a long time since Carrick taught her the skills and Dugan had tried to teach her the words. Standing here now, well this was not the lesson she had expected today, and she needed to move fast, the bloody clock was ticking. Move Xu move.

Her keys were lost, her maid on her way with the spare. But this opulent parlour of Dragons and Thieves was no place for a young maiden to be alone, would he, such a well-dressed, well-spoken man, (if perhaps a little drunk), please keep her company, keep her safe, in this dangerous place. *She stumbled and fell into him, a smile she neither felt nor wanted to give but she offered it to him, and he sat and ordered two drinks. * You are too kind, my name is Rachel and you are?

It did not take her long to realise they were dancing, but both were trying to lead, her eyes registered his hands moving unusually, her drink, a momentary cloudiness covering its surface. Well well, now she understood why he was the mark. Another round of drinks, even though hers remained largely untouched. Her distraction had worked eventually, he was no easy mark, but he also had not noticed her fingers as they moved over -his- glass. “Nice to meet a flower in this desert though" as his eyes leered and hands pawed, names Evan, Evan Marchbrand. ” Vincent’s fingers tapped his glass, she understood and signalled to him only two drinks. He wasn’t going to need the third though, her task was done. Would she fail for not insisting on the third?

His eyes became unfocused, as he stumbled from his stool, looking green. She offered him her shoulder. “We should get you some fresh air, come Evan” she encouraged, he stood very unsteady and held her very roughly, she paused, her breathing shallow, feeling something, Did he remind her of her father? Move fast, other things later Xu. She led him outside while others looked on with concern. “I feel queasy” *he steadies himself on her heavily*. It wasn’t long before he started spasming as she led him onto the cliff edge. She noted the dwarf standing a ways a way, admiring the view. She created another distraction. “Oh sir do be careful, you might fall. How about you stand here for a moment, I can just see my maid coming with my key… " She moves to extract herself and move away, but with one eye on the dwarf ensuring his focus is elsewhere, she shoves back with her foot, pushing him over the edge.*

She looked as Vincent stepped out of the shadows. "Who was he?" His words answered hers, but she knew there was another question that she didn’t ask. Why is it necessary for me feel?
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Rodgr Thunderguts
3:29:37 pm GMT 04/16/20
Rodgr Thunderguts Registered Member #1050 Joined: 7:35:50 am GMT 05/11/07
Posts: 350
Contracts. Some were for money or gain such as a bauble or gemstone. Some were for information, an exchange if you will. Sometimes he asked for three simple questions as payment, the client being more interesting than the contract itself.

Vincent pondered as he sat in front of the latest client, one who he had hooded prior to meeting in one of many safe houses, what would she ask of him? He moved the wire and the trap was disarmed, the door opened silently on well oiled hinges, he led her in, set some wards and a trap likely to take an ogres leg off before removing the hood and sitting her down.

She was pleasant enough, nice to look at and probably good company, though he wondered why he was chosen and not some other grey man. There it was, she needed information. They talked, she seemed nervous understandably, he was too; there was always a risk to taking work from an unknown party. Kysytyx the beholder normally gave him plenty of work, though he had not seen him in a while and wondered whether the other insane beholder often seen on the Long Road North had destroyed him.

The deal done, some wine and grapes eaten. A cover of course, virulent poison was in the wine, the antidote just a touch by hand as they left to remove the threat that would have come the next day were she a dupe sent by someone. If it was information she wanted, from the shadows information she would get.


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That was one. Now for another. He flipped a coin and it came up tails as it had done more often than not recently. He nodded focused and rubbed the stone that had crackled with demonic power. Fading through the darkness he was called to the shadow plane. Ever wary of magic, the divine and hugely mistrustful of demons and devils, he wondered why he stood before this beast, power and malice exuding from a façade of pleasantries. He needed help, help for another, perhaps himself too?


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The conversation was oddly pleasant though he was not sure whether the demon toyed with him or had actually struck a bargain. Vincent’s word was his bond, that is why he was successful, when he was hired clients knew their contracts were sealed and for them alone. It seemed he had to dance with a devil then go to Hell.

That was two. Now for three. The first time he had really met her was in the ball in the Iron City. A crazy mess of insanity, near death, outstanding wine and pleasant company. This was different, he was balancing on the edge of a precipice, only this time the rope he was holding was frayed and held only by a thread. He needed something from her, but that would mean two contracts for one, he would lose out. Then it came, an offer, she needed Vincent to do something and so a bargain was made, a bargain with a devil for a demon, unbeknownst to both.

It was quiet in the shadows, watching his marks talk. Their complacency stunned him, though he did wonder how many mice walked into a den of vipers so confidently and smiled slightly to himself. Information. They always want information in the end and he was getting it like a waterfall it seemed.

Time moved on as it does. Stretching his legs after the insanity of a trip with a winged elf who was clearly insane, a bookkeeper who clearly had no idea what was going on, a powerful sorcerer and a mad Halfling that craved adventure and seemed partially blind. There was another there, normal it seemed compared to the others. He sat in the Inn drinking some foamy beer, a pleasant change from the chaos and swapped stories, he listened mostly as he did, getting more than he gave. A sad tale it seemed though perhaps with a happy ending to follow?

As they left, he placed an order for food to be delivered to the Steinkreiss Orphanage, under an alias of course, it was a considerable amount after all.
Walking in the rain to order some flowers, he had almost forgotten. There was a fourth contract and it was time to collect.



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Rodgr Thunderguts
11:15:54 pm GMT 05/10/20
Rodgr Thunderguts Registered Member #1050 Joined: 7:35:50 am GMT 05/11/07
Posts: 350
Vincent sat in the empty room, staring at the chalk outline on the wall, he remembered tracing it, a thousand times the night she died. Why? He whispered to himself, why?. He couldn’t sleep, all his dreams were crimes he could not stand facing them. He wondered who if any would come to wash his sins away? He wondered who if any would be his friend?

Every night his dreams came to haunt him. His rosary wrapped around her neck. He lay awake sweating, afraid to fall asleep. He could see her face, her face looking back at his. He got up and stared into the mirror, into the eyes of a stranger. He always knew the mirror never lied, people always turn away from the eyes of a stranger. Was this all that is left of his life, his life before him? No happy ending like the story books and bards promised? He raised his head and stared into the eyes of a stranger, there has to be something left for him.

The gem heated up in his hand, growing hot, impatient, malevolent almost? The Demon called to him. It was time. Time to see if he would see tomorrow.

The pain that seared through his shoulder as the blade bit surprised him. He was fast, very fast, but his body moved like treacle compared to the demon. A gift it said, a gift for the bargain. Tugging the short sword from his torso he made to stand, injecting a stimulant into his leg to keep him from blacking out. It was time to go to the hells….literally.


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It was not as he expected hot and violent, horrifically so, but it also held an odd beauty, the screams mixed with oddly intoxicating music, the heat mixed with staggering views unseen anywhere else but in the hells.

There was fighting, lots of it as he knew there would be, the demon formidable in the realm cutting through armour and flesh like, well like a demon. He too held his own, until they came upon a place of peace oddly in such an inhospitable place. The demon told him the devil he sought would know Vincent was looking for him and would probably seek him out now, and with that left him. Stuck in the hells on his own. With a devil hot on his heels.

The journey back was not pleasant to say the least, though eventually he found a crack in the planes and returned to the shadows, safe for the moment he hoped sure no devil had followed him.
It was time to seek the truthsayer. Slowly his plan was unfolding, he wanted to make her a gift, she asked to know everything so he would tell her. She would know everything and there was only one he trusted to tell his tale. It was time to seek her out, the songstress.

They met in his house, one of them anyway, secure locks nice wine, though she drank ale and a lot of it. The discussion was pleasant, she was easy to talk to easy to listen to also. A bargain was struck, one he was slightly surprised at and the contract made. His word was his bond. She would tell his tale if he went to Cormyr. He packed that evening using his contacts and lots of gold to seek rapid passage. Cormyr, it had been a long while since he had been to Cormyr.

// props to Jandari

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Rodgr Thunderguts
12:17:35 am GMT 05/21/20
Rodgr Thunderguts Registered Member #1050 Joined: 7:35:50 am GMT 05/11/07
Posts: 350
A piece of paper, a word, it mattered not, his word was his bond. Few contracts piqued his interest, obviously he treated all of them seriously, even the benign ones he was told to do, though Kystyks the beholder had not beckoned him in some time. This contract was different. Like always he had something to gain, but this deal interested Vincent almost as much as the prize he would seek when he finished it, almost.
Information.

She was pretty, he thought as he watched her speak the terms, some would say charismatic, enticing even, though he heard only the words she spoke in that melodic voice, as the words were what mattered.
Cormyr was the destination. Quite the trip, it would mean leaving the Island, that would not be cheap, though he had a contact in Cormyr, one who could help with identity and passes and magical travel to save weeks at sea and in a carriage. Cormyr he thought, he had been there for a contract before, once. Once, he remembered it too well.

Though there are strong reasons why it shouldn't be, Cormyr was a steadfast and prosperous land. Despite an often-violent past, constant armed vigilance against beasts and border perils, and frequent treasonous intrigues, Cormyrians remain loyal, content, prosperous, and peace-loving folk.

Arabel? No, he thought, a fine city, but torn from years of war with the orcs, not a likely spot to start looking, though a marginal possibility. Immersea perhaps? This community was home to the Wyvernspur and Thundersword noble families. Visitors are warned to respect anyone dressed in finery or displaying arrogance, since the families are powerful and not afraid of proving it, oftentimes visitors not being heard of from some slight whether real or perceived.

The songstress had told him he was charismatic, greedy, extremely manipulative and good at those traits too. Traits he was used to. Oftentimes his clients or marks bore those characteristics, as often comes with greed and power. The ability to manipulate those closest to them and their friends, bending their mindset piece by piece like a jigsaw until the final piece fits and the table is flipped all pieces falling to chaos.

Suzail, the richest city in Cormyr, home to the important nobles and merchant houses in the country and the Royal Palace and Courts. Here he would find him. Xoren Peralis. He paid the blind wizard his coin, several thousand gold got him where he needed to be quickly, though he distrusted magic and swore one day it would somehow pull him apart if the shadows didn’t first.

// Continued in "Turning the Page" //
-Clickedy-
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Rodgr Thunderguts
5:49:52 pm GMT 06/07/20
Rodgr Thunderguts Registered Member #1050 Joined: 7:35:50 am GMT 05/11/07
Posts: 350
The basement of Vincents manor was quiet now, since the screaming had stopped. He washed his hands in the water bowl, the water turning pink then crimson the more he cleaned his hands. It was crude work, but effective and often needed when the mark was weak of mind.

Picking up a hooked instrument and cleaning it in the bowl, he wondered why they wanted information on another Temple after all they had their own ways of extracting information, but often the most pious had a reputation to upkeep of how good they were, on the outside at least. Everyone has a price.

A small whimper made him turn, Vincents body cloaked in shadow would be hard to focus on and he looked at the limp form hanging from shackles, defeated, broken. Even if she were healed, the damage would be too great to recover from her mind broken, her faith shattered.

Another contract complete, his word being his bond, unbreakable.

The contract was simple really, find out what he knew and return to tell the Priests in Steinkreis. Shrugging, the information she had his now, he unclasped the cuffs and gently helped the body to the floor. He was efficient at his work, but not cruel, there was no need to suffer beyond what was needed oddly he had strong morals, beyond his work that is. Had the Cleric simply told him what he needed, he probably would have left her, but she didn't, her belief in some false god, or maybe real, broken under the interrogation.

“Go to your god” he whispered, a thin blade slid past her ribs into her heart, it’s last beat felt through his handle. The contract was specific though, no witnesses, no survivors.

He rolled her body into the blanket and looked down the grate to where the hungry eyes looked up at him, there would be nothing left of her to find he thought, they would eat all of her. He dropped her in the sound of tearing and rending coming from the depths below.

So many puzzles it seemed. So many contracts all sides of the Isle wanting information and paying well for it. Now though, it was time to find the one who had followed him or perhaps those that had breached the gate. He had left a message with Senator Thorne for La’Veird and wondered if she would deliver it, or use it to vie for power?

He never knew he would be a juggler yet here he was juggling so many things. Smiling to himself, even though he hated the place, life was simpler in Grey Town he thought.

He started to scrub the floor his Mastiff ever vigilant by the door. It was time to complete another contract.
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Rodgr Thunderguts
7:37:35 pm GMT 06/20/20
Rodgr Thunderguts Registered Member #1050 Joined: 7:35:50 am GMT 05/11/07
Posts: 350
Vincent’s fingers and toes were numb. He couldn’t feel his face anymore, but the magical rocks he had bought kept his core warm enough that he didn’t freeze.
The North was not somewhere he visited often, he sometimes saw the Kin of the north there, he liked her, she seemed amiable, charismatic and full of useful advice. Now though it took all of his training to be motionless he was cold to the bone watching his quarry. An odd contract, but one that gave him time to consider the pieces of the puzzle he had somehow become embroiled in.

He thought back to the books he was reading and how they made assassins out to be some heroic character who lived a life of excitement and intrigue and tried to stave off a shiver, wishing he owned a cake shop or a bakers, just anywhere with an oven and warmth. He was buried under snow wrapped in oiled leather to keep the wet out and furs in an attempt to keep him as warm as possible. But being in the snow for days was not easy and he was uncomfortable, not miserable, he enjoyed his work, he just wished he was warmer and his flesh not numb.

Movement, subtle at first, but easy to spot when you had seen the same place for nearly a week. Not a snow hare this time, but a quarry nonetheless. He willed his fingers into life, flexing them in the mittens he wore, mittens being warmer than gloves for what he needed to do. Slowly, painfully his fingers came back to life, he hoped there was no permanent damage and thought of visiting the Thermae to warm his soul when he was done.

There she was, his quarry, here in the north, dark skinned yet slight of build, one of the Underdarks best. The contract was complete, confirming there were dark elf assassins in the north. He wondered why, though shrugged off the thought, just the fact she was here was enough for the one who had paid him. Now he had to hope she was alone or he may have other issues trying to leave this place.

A day passed and there was no sign, the assassin had headed towards the North, it was time for him to head south, back to Steinkreis to complete his task and tell his employer of his findings.

The pain was unbearable as he willed his body to move, muscles that had been still for days in the freezing temperatures, trying to pump blood through his arteries. When he finally managed to stand, he saw the tracks and froze. Fox prints, larger than normal, they came from the south, stopped where he was and left, a coincidence? Perhaps, though surely he would have heard it. Xoren. He shivered, only this time it was more than the cold. He needed to speak with the Songstress.

Besides, he had business with one of her associates, a dinner to prepare for and a decision that could be the greatest of his life.

He thought of the girl who had contracted him then and how she reminded him of his sister Molly. Perhaps more of what Molly could have become if she was not taken from his life young.

Right now however, he longed for a warm bath, a book and a soft bed to sleep in. His feet were in agony as the feeling came back when he started south, wondering if he too was now being watched.
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Rodgr Thunderguts
4:49:55 am GMT 07/03/20
Rodgr Thunderguts Registered Member #1050 Joined: 7:35:50 am GMT 05/11/07
Posts: 350
Exhaustion pushed it’s way through his veins. He felt hungover he was that tired, a feeling he did not like, for it dulled the senses and led to mistakes due to not thinking straight. His head was pounding his muscles tight, even with his training there was only so much you could endure.He had been curled up in the small alcove for hours watching them shadows covering his form, still as death itself.

The main hall was abuzz with activity, some lesser noble from some house he could not pronounce had made the pilgrimage to petition the Matron Mother for aid, something to do with mountain dwarves encroaching on the Houses territory. The Matron Mother had laughed in her face dismissively and told her to get on her knees and beg. When the noble did what she asked, she laughed even harder and suggested that she may as well kiss the dirt beneath her feet for all the respect she had for one who would beg at the feet of another. Instead of aid the noble was stripped of all her clothing, boots and belongings and forced to march back to her lands where the Matron Mother would send someone who could rule in her stead, if she even made the journey home. The Matron Mother turned and spoke to a nearby masked figure in apparent private conversation, but clearly loud enough for all to hear, “Someone should be able to care for their own, not prostrate themselves on the floor at the feet of strangers begging for help.” Then to the others around her “That would be a lesson you should all learn”.

An imperceptible nod and the masked figure disappeared from sight into the shadows. Perhaps he was tired, but he swore the figure was there one moment, then gone the next.

Remembering the blade that had been placed at his gut by Hunzrin in the Watch, he wondered if he truly wanted to meet one of these assassins. If the Drow themselves were scared of them, he wondered what he could learn from one so skilled, what a teacher that would make. It was a shame they were so xenophobic, they would gut him most likely before they even spoke.

Eventually the numbers in the hall dwindled, a few urchins were left cleaning, covered in the scars of their cruel masters. It was time to take his leave before he was seen or worse caught alive.

After a long and adrenaline fueled retreat from the Underdark, Vincent sat down at the plain wooden table and made a plate of food, washing it down with a wine from the City, a bottle someone had recommended he try. Smiling as he poured it, he stretched a little to ease the knots from his body. Perhaps he should visit the Thermae and try to soak the soreness from his muscles, but that would have to wait.

Taking a bit of a local cheese on some hard bread, he pulled the coin out of his pocket and sat it on the table. Always heads around her, always tails when change was coming. So many puzzles, so many contracts, perhaps it was time to simplify things and take the deal he was offered? It would certainly make things easier working for one person only. It would limit who he could associate with though he supposed. Sipping the wine he tried to decide what the taste was in the fruit forward red, blackberry perhaps?

Kicking off his boots and putting his feet on the nearby chair he closed his eyes wondering how he had gone from caring about no one to caring about so many, Grax would have called him weak. He thought of the words the bard had written for him and smiled, then thinking of what had happened and what she, what they, had said to him and took a long pull on the wine shaking his head. Guilty by association it seemed.

Putting the glass down on the table he picked up the coin and put it between his finger and thumb and spun it on the table watching it rotate, slowing and eventually stopping, not on heads or tails, but upright on its side. He laughed looking at it for a long while just staring, then he fell into a fitful sleep crushed by exhaustion and tried to think of the options he had, but all he could see was the card, her and him between a devil and a dark place.
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