Not all is as it appears – The Week 2 Lead story by Matthew
Somwhere outside the River Kingdoms
The farm house was rather nondescript and easy to miss to the standard passerby. A single lantern hung from a post that help up a wooden overhang that sheltered the cattle in poor weather. A single work hand sat tending to a calf that was in need of milking. A hay trough, water spigot, and a cooling apple pie that sat in the nearest window was all that could be seen in the light.
Nothing out of the ordinary – just simple folk getting by. For Breeva and Kiero Delivaise however this was the location they were looking for.
“Dear, don’t you generally milk a cow in the morning after their udders have swollen the night before?” purred Kiero to her mate. Leaning in she had to adjust her assorted weapons and pouches against her leather petty coat as she slinked in next to her husband.
“Only if this was not a front for the Daggermark Assassins Guild my love.” Breeva replied as he reached down to snap up an ornate six chambered flintlock pistol from his waist catch. While Breeva began bringing the weapon to bare on the farmhand Kiero spun away from her mate pulling a hand full of tiny spiked barbs from his pouch flinging them onto the ground before the pair. Performing yet another pirouette she finally settled down into a crouch hold a pair of pistols that matched Breeva’s. However, instead of pointing at the farmhand she instead was aiming off into the darkness with a knowing smile. “I see you little one”.
-Clap- -Clap- -Clap-
“Well done. Well done. Your reputation does not disappoint. Henry – please stand down and show our guests in.” Said a voice coming from the shadows. A skinny malnourished looking gnome walked into the light from the direction of Kiero’s stare. He was clean shaven with a mop of grey hair and wore elaborate robes that seemed to blend with the shadows. “Very well done indeed. Now Henry be a good lad and do as I instructed.”
Henry the “farmhand” responded with a grunt and a nod to the gnome. Standing up straight he was easily over seven feet tall and his muscles began rippling under his simple disguise of overalls as he flexed his back and began to flex out the lack of use. Looking at the pair of new comers he did not speak but motioned with his head to the barn doors and waved for them to follow me.
“Oh dear. There appears to not be a path with the ‘mess’ we have made….” Kiero began to say until Henry simply motioned with his arms slamming them together at the wrist and leaning into a strike aimed at the ground in front of them. A Massive gust of wind ripped through Breeva and Kiero’s clothes pushing them onto the sides of their feet as all of the caltrops that had laid before them were blown and slammed into the side of the barn some forty feet away. “Someone is not as they seem indeed” remarked a clearly surprised Breeva.
The trio entered the barn but it was a barn like no other. As soon as they crossed the threshold the image of hay, horses, and farming equipment gave way to visions of a glowing portal surrounded by glyphs on the ground and three more robed men clearly casting a spell to maintain the link. Motioning his head towards the portal Henry grunted twice. It was then that the elves noticed the jagged scar running the length of Henry’s neck. Rope burn.
Stepping through the portal Breeva and Kiero were instantly teleported to a stone room. Large and very well appointed they both had to blink a few times to adjust their eyes. Sitting upon a throne usually reserved for the greatest of kings that was also upon a raised dias was a skeleton. Not a motionless skeleton sitting to decay but a stark while skeleton that shifted seating positions as they materialized in the room before him.
“Ah, you are finally here” and otherworldly voice spoke. “Now we can begin to conduct business. Too long have you both been away from the fold. Urgent matters have brought you both back to me. It seems a small upstart village is attempting to disrupt my plans. Their mayor, this Olgar Ironmead – bring him before me. Alive if possible – dead equally as good. Do this now as I command and your absence will be….. overlooked”
Kneeling with heads bent the pair replied “Yes High Assassin”