A little serial, based on my old RPG, written raw for practice.
Blade Breaker 1.1 (start here)
Blade Breaker 1.8 (in case you missed last week’s)
I was cautious leaving Gregor the Grey’s grim fortress of a shop: in the North it is often said that bad things often come in three, and I figure the saying goes for attempts on one’s life in Myrrhn, if it goes at all.
I saw no sign of watchful eyes, rooftop shadows, or deeper darkness in the alleys as I stepped outside. Superstition will only take you so far, even as Nordan.
I was interested that Gregor was one of the ascended, that smaller personhood into which I was born a second time. The case at hand, however, was far more pressing, so I committed that information to memory, for later use. So far I knew that Sapphire and her Nordan lover had been killed by as assassin of no small skill, but one who had crossed the line from professionalism into passion in doing the deed. The poison, the rape, the slow torture, and the mutilation of the bodies indicated that the killer knew Sapphire and felt some claim to her.
I considered returning the the Pink Pearl and asking around. I discarded this idea almost immediately. No matter how much the other women liked Sapphire, it seemed unlikely that any of them would risk the wrath of the Guild to help catch her killer. Prostitutes in Myrrhn, even the most pampered, had well honed survival instincts. It would take someone with stones like Madam Glorianna to risk butting heads with the Nightblades.
Aside from the knowledge that I was looking for an assassin who was in love with Sapphire, I now knew that he purchased his specialty poison from Gregor the Grey, making a rush order and paying the princely sum of a gold trade bar. The rush order confirmed to me that the assassin was not acting rationally: the act was planned, but impulsive, almost feverish. The gold trade bar meant I was dealing with someone well paid — in assassin terms that meant a prolific journeyman at the very least. That ruled out the pair who attacked me outside of Git’s, who despite drawing blood, were likely just out of training at best.
I considered this as I walked past dreamy eyed addicts and made my way to the nearest bridge. The larger islands that make up the various districts of the city are tall and jagged rocks and it is much easier to take the suspension bridges than to take the boardwalk or water taxi. The later were very popular for other reasons, mostly involving smuggling and other illicit activities.
I reached the bridge just as the twilight rush began.
There is a certain beauty to the sudden chaos of rush times. Tens of thousands of people spill onto the streets in a matter of seconds, a tidal wave of people. Everyone on the streets is swept up by the influx, which moves of its own accord, like blood pumping through the veins of some great stone beast. Orcs run shoulder with dwarves, students with merchant princes, and thieves with watchmen, all moving as one great mass. There is a certain logic, a pattern to the madness, that makes these times peaceful and profound rather than riven by disharmony. I believe it is simply the expression of an overwhelming mass consciousness, the will of the city made manifest in a brief, glorious storm of people that is as powerful and sustaining as the rain that accompanies Magni’s own thunder.
Another description of the rush that I am fond of, is that it is like marching with an army, only an army with a peaceful purpose and no particular organization.
The twilight rush is a combination od the movements of the shop-keepers and bankers leaving work, combined with the dockworkers, sailors, and day labourers moving towards their favourite taverns and whorehouses for the evening.
This bridge was a great span made of black stone, supported by steel cables and massive pillars sunk deep into waters below. It was decorated with ugly gargoyles, some possibly even real, and gave the impression of endless solidity.
I decided to head back to the Inn of the Willing Wench rather than risk a trip to the Black Tower before dark. It is best to deal with the Guild in broad daylight, even if you are a Shadow Wolf. A leg of lamb and a pint of Brunors Bitters would certainly help clear my mind and replenish all of the blood that I had lost. I was not retiring for the day, merely changing my investigation strategies. Anyone who had additional information for me would look for me at the Wench first, I reasoned.
Besides, if I was still being followed by a pair of neophyte killers, I figured it would be better to take them on in a stretch of ground that I was more familiar with.
Plus I really wanted a drink…