Kreesha. He let the image of his wife from Tarna fill his imagination - the warmth from the picture spread there from his mind, and filled his whole body. Perhaps one day, if he did enough good here, he would be able to return home to Tarna. To Kreesha.
No. The liontaur knew that could never happen. He had left his world to protect Kreesha, and all of Tarna, from what was inside him now. It was a necessity - Sacrifice was part of the Way of the Paladin. Those thoughts washed away his happy picture of Kreesha, and his memory replayed the previous events of the day as he stepped from the portal, and onto the Isle.
The search for clues at the ruined Temple of the Flying Dragon had proven unfruitful, but that bothered Rakeesh very little, for all he could think about were the gruesome packages that had been left for Dimitri and Sylus. He had hidden them, of course, but it was time for the liontaur to ensure that these Dark Mages would not hurt anyone else. It was only unfortunate that, other than Rakeesh's nearly supernatural awareness of things, he really knew nothing about these creatures.
Firynth stepped out of the portal behind them - Rakeesh had met his soldier friend earlier that night at the Outback. They came here together to both search for Dimitri, and the two creatures who had tried to harm him the night before.
His senses flared, and his heart whispered the word "Bloodspeaker" for only his mind to hear.
A liontaur rose and approached as I sat enjoying a hot cup of tea. How much he precisely knows of me I cannot yet determine, but he suspects much. When he reached my table, he began without preamble....
"I'd enjoy having a word with you, effendi."
Knowing that a chair would not be comfortable, I offered him the one across from me, and only barely contained a smirk when he declined. But, the liontaur was not alone, and the soldier behind him did take the chair.
The liontaur continued,
"I am a man who lives his life by honor, effendi. I will be blunt, therefore. What is it that you, and your companion seek?"
As I studied him long moments, I decided to play innocent with him.
"Your meaning eludes me."
As patient as any paladin, he restated his query.
"What is it that you want?"
I held his gaze for a long pause, and then told him
"Entertainment. I've been a long time without it."
I did not elaborate that I've been dead for many long years, and that my new rising meant I have much to catch up on in terms of entertainment.
The liontaur persisted,
"What is entertaining to you?"
Oh, if only he knew!
"Many things entertain me."
It was at this point that I directed a blood tendril toward his friend seated across from me.
I directed a smile at him.
"I like games sir, but you have me at a disadvantage... you are?"
All the while, the blood tendril moved inexorably toward the soldier, crossing the table seeking out his essence. In the flash of a moment, a magic blade was drawn, slicing downward to sever my offering of introduction to the solder seated across from me. The tendril was cut cleanly by the blue fire blade and sizzled to ash upon the table top. The soldier dove out of the way, grabbing the chair as a shield, as if that would stop me from inhabiting his body and driving his spirit into the Hells. I pulled my hand back, sliding it into the folds of my kimono sleeves and regarded Rakeesh.
"That blade is dangerous in close confines, and you assaulted a part of me that was seeking to meet your friend."
He said he was not here to harm me, necessarily. How very droll. The blood dagger slid into my hand unseen by either of the two creatures. As the shadows shifted behind me, the Liontaur suggested I move, thus I took the opportunity to rise and approach the soldier with a slow, sultry movement that spoke nothing of hostile intentions. The liontaur must have sensed something, an innate 6th sense Paladins have, because he moved to stand between us, the sword this time is put into use in an attempt to shield the soldier.
Firynth threw the chair at me, he must have been warned by the Paladin, for the Liontaur must be such by his actions and deeds. I threw up a shield and the chair clattered to the floor.
"my, violent are we not?"
My words meant for the soldier. Paladins, the breed disgusts me. Better a blade in the back than an even playing field!
Daigotsu arrived as the chair had hit the floor. This brought the playing field a little more even. I smiled a very dark smile at Firynth. Daigotsu's voice touched me....
"They do not know who we are...or what we can do. Perhaps we should show them the remains of that tavern."
I stepped around the liontaur and gave the blue blade a wide berth, the knife remained hidden beneath the long kimono sleeves. Firynth faced me, and Rakeesh moved to face Daigotsu. How delicious! I could not risk jumping into the liontaur's body past the blade, but this soldier.... ah well.... he would experience the pleasures of soul destruction! My movement is a blur to anyone watching, and a chant from the depths of hell, I leapt from my own body as my essence dove into Firynth's body, pushing at his soul in an attempt to dislodge it from his corporeal residence. Firynth's confusion was a living thing as my soul traversed through is mind, his being, but yet his soul remained where it was. The touch of the holy blade the liontaur wielded was enough to force my retreat into my own body. I have grown to hate this liontaur!
"No magic at all. You are no mage."
I spat as I returned to my body, immediately pressing the dagger against his ribs.
"and thus not worth keeping alive."
The soldier jumped quickly seeking to sever the ties that bind my porcelain mask in place, but the mask is not so easily removed as that. Daigotsu's katana was freed and lifted to intercept Firynth's attack upon myself. But my dagger had slid home between his ribs as he'd leapt at me, and now he slumps slowly to the ground at my feet. The blood dagger infecting him with the dark taint we seek to spread. I withdrew the dagger, and while studying the wounded soldier, I ran my tongue over the blade and tasted his blood. I would meet this one again.
I backed up toward Daigotsu, and told him that I didn't think they liked us much as I watched the soldier collapse finally into a pool of his own blood. Daigotsu quipped back,
"This is your fault. Always looking too sinister."
How amusing. He's the big dark one in the mask... where as I am simply clad in silk kimono and mask. I am the sinister one?
The Liontaur continued his attack on Daigotsu, but the soldier was bleeding rather profusely, and I called Rakeesh' attention to his friend. "::nods at the soldier on the floor:: You might want to save your friend Paladin. He serves no magic purpose... but you seem fond of him"
In that moment, I knew fear as the liontaur's words rang out, "You might want to leave." He pressed the blessed blade flatly to my face, it bearing the anti-evil ward of Sekhmet. I went very still lest he use that damnable blade to send me back into Beyond, from whence I had only just arisen.
The shadows swirled around us all, and a voice whispered to me
"Stop this at once!"
I backed slowly away from the glowing blue blade.
"Consider these negotiations temporarily ceased."
The liontaur moved toward his friend. He slowly bent his four legs to grab and pick up Firynth's body, holding him under the arm opposite of Soulforge's wielder. Firynth groaned, but soldiers training will tell, he kept moving with Rakeesh.
I sent a blood tendril seeking Daigotsu as I got closer to him.
"(s) I think we can be entertained better elsewhere tonight my lord."
His answer was quick after his body healed from the inflicted wounds.
"Yes, let's go."
The voice spoke once more from the shadows....
"You two may wish to take trip to Badside.....I've left a gift for you..... Found this interesting tavern...."
I paused, not following my master immediately.
"I can't imagine why you would leave a gift, we don't even know you."
He met her obsidian gaze.
"You did me a favor.......Even if you did not realize it...."
My retort as I followed my Lord off the island...
"Well, then, you are in my debt. "
Daigotsu left me alone to my own devices that night, and in my frustration and anger, I headed for the docks. There was a rich merchant vessel anchored in the harbor..... with a dark smile, I went on board.
There was a small assemblage of crew playing cards and drinking heavily. My appearance in their cabin brought a series of lewd comments as I smiled at each one in turn. My essence dances on the fringes of the body I inhabit, the glittering of power right before leaping into the leader of the crew's body. Soul wrending screams permeated the cabin and pandemonium broke out. I leaped from body to body, finding some satisfaction in the agonized terror of each man as their souls were consigned into the Hells.
It was over in minutes. 5 bodies lay mangled and torn and lifeless. I reached down and slit the throat of the first man I'd slain that night, the blood soaking into the dagger. The idea then hit me.... "perfect!"
I severed the index finger of each man, carefully wrapping them in bright red silk. I sat amongst the carnage with the rice paper and brushed a note for my paladin friend.....
Paladin, my gift to you for this evening's troubles. These men all died, and your friend, well, you will find a dark reminder of my inhabitation of his body and the piercing of my blade. Good luck preventing his demise.
Leaving the boat, having removed a few of the cargo's valuables, I headed for the Guild Hall to leave the gayly colored package for the Liontaur.
From there, things seemed to unfold like a nightmare - Rakeesh had used his sword to injure the creatures, but they seemed to heal rather quickly. The liontaur's only true success was in the prayer wards he had prepared on his blade, Soulforge. He had seen the fear in the eyes of the woman Blood Mage. He had succeeded in enforcing their retreat from the Isle...
But at what cost?
Rakeesh Sah Tarna ran through the streets of RhyDin with the speed of a lion. Firynth was weak - Rakeesh's clerical abilities to heal had barely kept Firynth from dying there, on the beach, from his dagger wound. When they reached the Adventurer's Guild, the other members were either asleep, or out for the night. The liontaur brought Firynth to his chamber, and let him rest comfortably on the friendly bed.
The rest of that night occupied Rakeesh's time with the mixing of herbal roots, the force-feeding of water and bread to Firynth, and the kind of care that only one good friend can give to another. Rakeesh sat up all night by Firynth's side, with a pile of books on lore and mythologies he had removed from the Guild's private library - he helped facilitate his friend's rest and recovery, as he studied every book he had at his disposal.
Rakeesh needed to know what the "taint" inhabiting Firynth was. He did not know Artemis well, but he felt no breath of falseness in the young man's warning. He needed to know more about the nature of these creatures, and what horrors may be in store for Firynth. His mind sometimes wondered to Rhaine, Sylus, Xenograg, and their search for Alais. He could only hope Rhaine's genius would protect the group from the dangerous creatures who he had faced tonight.
It would be a long night for the Paladin of Sekhmet.
He knew the truth, though - Shahai did not just murder these men - she had dislodged their souls and commended them to Hell. The sleepless night had turned out to be very educational, as he watched over Firynth. He had found articles, chapters, and nearly full books on the origins of these creatures. They were called... (Bloodspeakers). Rakeesh still had more studying to do, specifically to learn more of their weaknesses, but he now knew precisely what they were capable of.
After he finished praying, the liontaur wiped the tears from his eyes, and gathered the dead fingers. He put them in the chest which Sylus' and Dimitri's presents had been stored in, and again hid the chest in his chamber. He wished he could bury the body parts, but he had already realized that he may need them in the future, if only to learn more of the Bloodspeakers.
Rakeesh Sah Tarna returned to his friend's chamber, to check on him. Firynth was resting safely. The taint had been slowed by Sekhmet's prayer, but it was still there. Rakeesh would spend the rest of that day studying, in preparation for the Night to come.
"Thank Achilles, Rakeesh is out there somewhere trying to help."
With the masses of creatures coming at him, Firynth knew he wasn't going to survive. All he could do was fight and hope to survive. Then from somewhere behind him, a battle cry was shouted and repeated. Then the next thing Firynth knew was that Achilles was there fighting with him encouraging him to do his best. A renewed strength flooded through Firynth as his mentor joined him in his battle. And then he just fought.
After some time he noticed the darkness slowing in it's approach. He knew that whatever Rakeesh was doing seemed to be working. The taint sought to control his mind and Firynth wouldn't allow it and neither would Rakeesh. Finally the darkness seemed to retreat and Firynth collapsed to his knees, weary from fighting, weary from his wounds and he just slept. He slept knowing that both Achilles and Rakeesh were watching over him.
I asked those assembled if there were any mages. There is no point in wasting my time with anything less. My query seemed to give Rak Marcine pause. He would not respond. Farek on the other hand posed the hypothetical “Let's just say that I am, for the sake of argument. What's it to you?”
I studied him a moment, and said “If you are, I would meet you in the ring. If you are not, I will not.”
About that time Rakeesh stirred. Looking around cautiously. A cloaked figure at the periphery of the room pulled a black arrow from a quiver, and began knocking the arrow into a silver bow. He called out to me, “Don't move Bloodspeaker”.
I have no cause for concern as he could not hurt me with such a weapon, but Rakeesh seemed to believe caution was the better side of valor.
“That would be murder in a public place” I told him as I walked toward Farek and the ring we were summoned to for our duel.
He didn’t seem to care about murder in a public place, but the liontaur would not let him commit murder in public, and I knew that about the loathsome breed known at Paladins. Rakeesh told the cloaked figure “There will be no murdering here, tonight.”
Farek was true to the nature of a brigand. He took every advantage and pulled no punches. His taunting was wearing on my nerves, but I knew that I could not body jump until the very last round, but my essence shimmered at the boundaries of my body in anticipation. He’d landed a particularly vicious jab, and my hand sought the blood dagger within my sleeve.
Rakeesh’s voice reached me “away the dagger, else I will commend your soul to your tomb, Shahai Iida.”
How he sensed the dagger in my hand I do not know, but I know that I will make the Paladin pay for his interference.
At last, my moment had come…. As Farek’s last blow landed, I leaped into his body, ripping and tearing as my soul battered at the mage’s trying to dislodge him. Abruptly my soul was thrown from Farek as the liontaur’s flaming blue blade touched Farek’s body. Farek retreated to the far side of the ring and began battering the ring posts.
The liontaur spun around to face me, the damned blade between us. I will make him pay, and pay dearly for his interference with that holy blade. His parting words to me were that I would pay for leaping into Farek, but I believe he’s in for a very nasty surprise.
After I left Rakeesh’s unkind reception, I went into the city. Blood lust needs to be sated. I cloaked myself in darkness and slipped into a small church in a run down section of town. The friar shivered slightly as I moved into the ancient building, he could sense my presence as I fed his growing fear. My darkness wrapped around him as the blood dagger sank into his throat, cutting off any chance to scream. I do love screaming, but tonight it was more important that I leave the body mangled and maimed within the holy building for the liontaur to be summoned to assist in finding the murderer. The blade drank of the friar’s blood, but without the magic, it simply absorbed the man’s essence to no benefit beyond my own satisfaction in knowing it would cause the liontaur pain.
My mission of murder complete, I returned to the Outback. The stench of the Paladin was still present, but I entered once more anyway. The cloaked figure who’d earlier sought to shoot me with his silver bow alerted the liontaur to my presence, and I took a seat at the furthermost table. My focus was 100% on the paladin. Rising, I moved in a wide path around the outer tables. The cloaked figure continued to watch me, but made no aggressive moves that would have needed my attention. My goal, to get behind the liontaur during his duel, the blood dagger fairly hummed in anticipation.
But Rakeesh grew more threatening than I had yet seen him, and told me “Leave this place, or I will send you to your tomb, creature.”
He slowly drew Soulforge. As I moved closer, he swung the blade, aiming for the hand that held the blood dagger. The blue flame with it’s prayer ward burned my flesh.
Hissing at him, my accusation flew that he was only brave when hiding behind the holy blade, that he was simply too cowardly to meet me without that advantage. In fury as he’d burned me and held me too far away to slip the dagger into his flesh, I told him his friend was dead…. That the soldier he treasured was lost. He studied me hard, trying to read my eyes behind the mask, but I let him see nothing.
He then told me “I will not ask you again, Bloodspeaker. You are not welcome here. Leave.”
His approach was something I was not prepared to push in that setting, and so I spun on my heel and threw the blood dagger straight at the heart of the cloaked figure in the shadows and vanished from the room.
Artemus could not believe that I’d actually thrown it, but the meddling woman with him was good, and she’d seen the flash of my dagger and deflected it’s flight with her own, both blades lodging into the wall slightly to the right of Artemus. And then I smiled. Artemus pulled the dagger from the wall with only a black veil cloth, and the taint of the blade found it’s way into his person. Realization came too late for him.
Firynth was still alive - he was still alive... Yes. She had lied.
Rakeesh trained hard that night, fighting without his blade. There may come a time in which he did not have his Holy Sword, and he needed to be prepared to deal with the creatures still.
Other problems rose, however - he felt frustration boil in him towards the pair Artemus and Cheyenne. The girl had saved Artemus' life, but the young man had still, foolishly, touched the bloodblade! Now, not only Firynth relied on him for remedy, but this man - who Rakeesh was not truly certain he could trust. The more contact he had with the Kurgens, the less he felt sure of their intentions. What was more, the girl, filled with teenage angst and lack of clarity, had tried to touch the tainted blood just to be a part of what Artemus was now going to go through!
But, the liontaur had protected her from such self-inflicted pain, and had Artemus remove the dagger from the Outback and dispose of it. As Rakeesh left that evening, to go tend to Firynth, his mind raced to a Guildbook log entry;
" I, Sylus Adair Kurgen, once assasin and theif but through hardship and struggle, now walk the path of redemption. I vow to hold to the ideals of this guild.(If they suit my purposes) "
But, what were the Kurgens' purposes? They may not be as dangerous as the Bloodspeakers, or Vanion, or Shakira(may she never return) - but could the liontaur afford to allow the Guild its guard down during such a troubled time? Could he really trust them? Unfortunately, this was food for thought that would have to wait.
Firynth was alive upon his return, though still sleeping. Shahai had lied, as Rakeesh had expected. These creatures were without Honor. Rakeesh imagined that Firynth would awake sometime in the next day, feeling healthy, other than the pull of the taint.
The liontaur boiled valerien roots, and force fed them to his friend. He would have one more peaceful night of sleep, while Rakeesh read the rest of his library, searching for a cure to the Bloodspeaker's taint.
The liontaur's memories floated up to the surface of his mind as he began to drift to sleep. It had been another eventful night, but this time the Bloodspeakers had not found the upper-hand. Rakeesh's long hours of study had shown him the truth behind the cure for the Bloodspeaker's taint. Somehow(Rakeesh had reminded himself to study the reasoning further), the element of Jade was a ward against the taint itself. Jade, combined with Purity in actions and soul had proven to remove the taint in other instances from the creatures' homeland.
And so, Rakeesh had set out that day with purpose - he spent much gold on buying rare chalk made to combine elements of true jade, and moreover - he had paid a skilled weaponsmith in the city a high price to spend the day forging two swords with blades originating completely from jade. The results were beautiful - the pair of blades were dark green, and as sharp as any blade. Rakeesh then took the two blades to be blessed by a local priest, who he had heard would be willing to do such a thing for a kind "donation". He would give one blade to Firynth, and the other to Aenlyn. Hopefully, the blades would both protect them, and cause great harm to the Bloodspeakers in battle.
The final touch had been the amulets - he had only three of them, and they had been gifts to Rakeesh, Kreesha, and their only son Sasha, from the Sultan of Shapeir. They held no magical properties, but their jade gems would now serve a great purpose. Rakeesh knew in his heart that the Sultan would be overjoyed to know that his gift would help protect Rakeesh and his friends, and his heart longed to see his old friend from Shapier once again. It could not be, though; RhyDin was his home now, and he was needed. He had proven so again in tonight's latest battle against Shahai Iida.
These thoughts comforted Rakeesh as he drifted off to a deep sleep. Artemus had been given a piece of the chalk, to help ward off the curse - the true test would be inside the young man's heart, however. Did his heart have what it took to deny the sins of the soul that the Shahai's taint called upon? It was comforting to know that Firynth would be able to recover, even if Rakeesh was too late to save Artemus Kurgen.
In another chamber, Aenlyn Hollow watched over her friend Firynth Jessail. Firynth slept peacefully for one last night, a jade amulet around his neck, one of the two jade swords laid out on his body, and a green circle chalked out around his bed. All that was left was for his soul to destroy the taint.
Rakeesh Sah Tarna slept that night, certain that he would.
Outside his mind, in the guild, Firynth's body stirred slightly as his mental self became active once again. Beads of sweat were starting to form on his forehead and his arm moved reflexively to grab the hilt of the jade sword laid across his body.
Inside his mind, Firynth drew his sword which now flared a brilliant green. He swung it to test it's weight out a few times and figured that it was good enough for use.
"Dunno what got into my sword but who cares as long as it cuts through my enemy."
With that, he set off towards his goal, the encroaching darkness. He met one creature that decided to run at him from the protection of the darkness and gave a great roar as he cleaved the monster in two. Surprised at how easily he cut through the thing and the fact that the creature was now smoldering in green flames, he took a step back blinking in confusion.
"What, in Achilles' name, happened to my sword?!? I swear if Rakeesh majicked it like he's been wanting to do, I'm going to hurt him."
Chuckling to himself at the idle threat, Firynth started walking towards the darkness once again. A glint of happiness in his eyes that was the same color as his blade. He wondered what Aenlyn and Rhaine were doing right now. Rhaine was probably tracking down her target but Aenlyn had no such assignment as far as he knew. He hoped that they were both safe and his brief happiness evaporated as his determination kicked in. He was going to get out of this nightmare to help out his friends, even if he meant only coming out of it long enough to explain to them the weaknesses and tips for fighting this darkness. He didn't want anyone other than him to fall to this darkness if he could manage it. With that his eyes flared green once more as did his sword and he went running into the darkness with a battlecry on his lips and a clearness of mind for once since being trapped in this hellish nightmare.
Everything changed when Farek entered. Rhaine gladly went into the rings with her favorite opponent, each duel with Farek was a pleasure... but soon after that bloodspeaker, Shahai, materialized. Right on time to spoil the fun of the night. Rakeesh's prayer for protection from evil, the blue flame of Soulforge, attempts to force the Bloodspeaker into a fight - it all looked so pathetic, so paladin-like... However, effective against the hell-spawned mage. The blade did sear her flesh, as well as prayer seemed to hurt her. Rhaine felt slight pity for her.
Blood dagger in Shahai's hand looked like a frail opponent for Rakeesh's blade, but Rhaine knew it was an illusion of weakness. The vampiress curved her lips in slight disgust, and black metal materialized on her hands. Easily she caught the dagger with her hand, and black mist swirled around her left wrist. "One aggressive move, Bloodspeaker..." Rhaine hissed. "That's not your concern, dark one" Shahai spoke, wrestling out.
The woman materialized behind Farek, and blood dagger was pointed against brigand's heart. Rakeesh froze in place. Paleness touched Rhaine's face. The room went quiet.
"I'm leaving this place in peace," the bloodspeaker's words were too clear in silence. Giving Farek a slight shove, she dissolved into darkness.
"Once more you attack Farek, and you're history, Shahai... dark ones warn only once," vampiress muttered quietly, but confidence and resolution in her voice were doubtless. Losing such an opponent was definitely not in her plans...
As he walked through the darkness, it seemed to shudder in pain everytime a flame dripped off his sword and touched the ground that it had enveloped. He figured he might be getting close to the source of this dismal place as the shudders grew more violent. More creatures kept attacking him but he quickly dispatched them with the new flame coming from his sword. Suddenly, there were no more creatures and the darkness seemed to gather at a point up just ahead. Firynth walked towards this point and strained his eyes to make out what was ahead. He squinted his eyes but still couldn't see what it was. He walked a little closer and the form standing just ahead turned around and Firynth finally got a good look at the face of the figure ahead of him. It was...
"No... it can't be... you were helping me out earlier. Why are you trying to take over me?"
"My squire, I have no choice in this matter. I am to do this by order of Zeus. If you can not overcome me, then you have no reason to survive this taint."
"Then I guess for the sake of my friends, I will destroy you..."
Sadness enters the eyes of Firynth at the thought of fighting his mentor in this situation but his friends needed him more. He had intimate knowledge of dealing with the darkness (at least that's what he thought) and he needed to bring this to Rakeesh at all costs. He was going to try his hardest or die trying.
The battle with Achilles went on for 5 hours, furious blow after blow ringing from each opponent. Both were pretty beaten up, Firynth cut in many places as was Achilles only his were marked with a green glow. Finally, Achilles held up his hand.
"Why do you fight when you know you will ultimately lose to me?"
"I fight to protect my friends and even if I lose, it's worth it to try to see them again. I want to protect them and I'll try to do that any way that I can. And I won't give up because if I give up, you take over and will obey that wretched blood mage and end up hurting my friends. So to protect my friends, I fight!"
With that, Achilles nods and lunges back into the fight. Firynth quickly parries a couple of slashes and then disarms Achilles. Achilles drops to his knees and says, "You must kill me in order to return." Gravely, Firynth nods and then thrusts his blade home straight into Achilles' heart. Instantly, the darkness recedes leaving Achilles sitting there on his knees.
"You did good my squire... I have nothing more to teach you. Go in peace and know that I will be watching you in your endeavours." With that, Achilles disappears and leaves the blade hanging in mid-air. He turns around and looks about and then sheathes his sword... The world goes white.
Firynth woke with a start. His body covered in sweat and he was still grasping the sword. He stood up and flexed a bit and swung around the sword, it glowed slightly green. Then he walked up to the mirror across the way and looked at his reflection noticing the jade pendant for the first time. "Wonder where that came from... Oh well, I'll ask Rakeesh in the morning." He sheathes the sword into the empty scabbard lying against the wall and looks back at the mirror. He starts after seeing his eyes for the first time. Instead of being their normal blue coloring, they were now a brilliant green...
Most poisons would do me no harm, yet this one hurt as nothing ever had. My blood continued to seep steadily from the wound. It failed to close and heal despite repeated attempts to staunch the flow of my own blood.
The shadowed one would suffer for this wound. Suffer many times over for it!
I returned to the place I'd last seen Rakeesh, the wound staining the royal red of my kimono a deep blackish crimson, and once more I faced Rakeesh in a room full of people. The jade he now carried was a shocking surprise, and now he was armed with jade and that damnable holy blade. I made a half hearted attempt to get my dagger into his belly, but was unsuccessful, but there is more than one way to stick a knife in the gullet of an interfering Paladin!
I retreated behind Farek, the blood dagger pressed to his ribs as I made my escape. It was then I heard the voice of the vampire, and a wicked smile curled my lips. She has a soft spot for this mage, this "stinking ashtray" as I've heard him called. This would be useful.... but making an enemy of another from Hell would be riskier than having made an enemy of the Paladin. I gave Farek a shove and dissappeared into the blackness.
The night embraced me, and I went in search of someone who could help me counter the jade. Perhaps later, an old friend could help me with the holy blade as well. But for now, I needed obsidian. Lots of it.
Armed with obsidian throwing daggers of most excellent balance, a long knife, amulets and ink, I headed for the Paladin's resting place. The wounded soldier's blood sang as I approached the doors of the Guild Hall. Rakeesh was using the jade to drive out the taint, but it was not yet fully gone. The man wrestled with his dreams, and I nudged the dreams to become even blacker. Getting through the jade would not be quite as daunting as Rakeesh had hoped.
I paused, there was something new near the Guild Hall - a cypress sapling that had not been there on her previous visits. I waited. It too was adorned with Jade.
(sw) "Rakeesh, you cannot stop me with such simple means"
I cloaked myself in blackness and hoped the dryad could not detect the blood that still oozes from the arrow wound, and slid into the Guild Hall. Obsidian dagger in hand, all the while seeking the soldier's resting place where he waa embroiled in dark dreams.
I stopped abruptly. Rakeesh! I could smell his stench, and it was close by. Altering my course, I followed, seeking the room that held the hated Paladin. My fingers all the while, curling and uncurling around the obsidian dagger's hilt.
Sinking deeper into blackness, I crossed the thresh hold of his door, and simultaneously felt my hold on the soldier lost. It was a fair trade... Rakeesh for the soldier.
With a prayer to the gods of Hell that this blade would sink deeply but not kill the Paladin, I took very careful aim with the obsidian blade and threw with every ounce of power and strength I could muster at the sleeping Liontaur.....
I want him to know I have been here, I want him to know the darkness of a Bloodspeaker's blade, I want him to live knowing I can get him at any time.......
With a few quick words I was inside the guild, silver bow in hand and black arrow knocked and ready. Moving with utter silence I followed teh scent of her dark blood. Located her gazingupon the sleeping form of Rakeesh. Taking careful aim I cast an arrow to her other shoulder. Mirroring the would I had in flicted earlier.
Before she could turn I was away. Moving through the Pathways of Darkness...back to Kurgen Keep.
Headmaster of Arcanum Academy
Proprietor of Dark Wolf and Leopard Jewelers.
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