In this installment we learn the fate of Imirann “the Basilisk” Shinn, and Ujin makes a fateful decision...
Jimnir, Ujin and the saan rode in a line snaking through the swamp. Crows, vultures and some bats flitted around in the early morning greyness. This was about as cold as the swamp ever was, right in the earliest whispers of morning, and Ujin was treasuring it; when the sun came out later it would be relentless.
That was another thing that Ujin had found difficult to adjust to here in Bhavisyavani: the weather, it turned at a moment’s notice, the grey sky could clear or the clear sky could toss a storm in your path in minutes. Now the ceiling of the sky was cool and grey, and the flutter of the bats and the caw of the crows echoed against it.
They had decided to take a large diversion, the location of Jal Bhains’ camp was not a secret, but if they stuck to the known routes to get to it the chances of ambush by men, animals or monsters was enhanced. Of course, the standard routes were there as they were some of the few passable routes available without entering the river. All of their mounts could swim, but the river had its own denizens… so they went quite a bit out of their way, turning a two hour trip into a full day outing.
Imiran Shinn was tied up and slung across the back of one of the giant lizards riding up ahead, Ujin and Jimnir kept their distance to avoid being heard by the thief.
They skirted the river for a while, and at one particular bend in its path they encountered a body in the water. It was a large creature, the likes of which Ujin had not seen before. It was perhaps 20 feet tall, it had two legs and a lizard like tail, four arms and a head like an ape, but hairless. In fact its body was entirely hairless, and its skin was a deep, almost brown orange. The beast was dead, burns and obvious weapon wounds were all over it’s body. It had become stuck at this juncture in the river, where it pinched in for a short time, deep but narrow.
Jimnir’s dragon was instantly interested in the body, the lizards and Ujin’s giant spider were not. The dragon scrambled down and over to the water, its head bobbing up and down as it caught the scent of the dead thing. The dragon let out a small hiss, and looked back at Jimnir.
Jimnir spoke in a firm voice, “Motil nimonga fain, kiri masuni.”
The dragon let out a strange squeal, Ujin had never heard it make such a sound, and it then ran for a short distance, jumped up beating its wings and returned to the sky, circling in large loops around the group.
“What is that?”, Ujin had no idea what the creature was.
Jimnir shook his head, “Escaped creation from a House warlock’s experiments? Summoned demon or devil? Perhaps the creature had been attacked and killed by hunters but not brought back, which would be somewhat unusual. Sometimes the hunted survives while the hunters are slain then succumbs to its wounds...”
They decided to move on.
A few minutes later the lizard men signaled for the men to wait, they were testing the path to see if it was strong enough to hold them. While they waited Jimnir chewed on a sprig of something Ujin couldn’t identify.
Jimnir spoke as the lizard men poked and prodded the ground.
“The marsh here, and for miles ahead, used to be home to temples to old gods, thousands of years old and in decay, they lay empty for centuries. In the early years of the city the warlocks razed many of these old temples, and gathered their power and artefacts. Some of these warlocks built towers in the swamp, and worked on these ancient magics, created creatures that roamed the less travelled areas. Some of these created things bred and multiplied, that could have been one of those creatures.”
The lizard men gave the signal and Jimnir urged his giant lizard to follow.
“I worked the hunt for House Horn several times in the last few years before I left. One early morning it was myself, another warlock named Tussunbir the Numb, and a dozen House Horn regulars with shield, swords and crossbows, all mounted on giant lizards, all chasing after some… thing that had attacked a caravan of one of our lords. No one had managed to get a good look at it in the dark when the attack happened, but it left a trail of carnage that was not hard to follow.”
Jimnir’s hand went to his staff for a moment, there was a disturbance in the bushes to their right. A large, dark purple spider, about the size of a dog, rustled out, a rabbit hung from its mandibles, dripping blood. Jimnir placed his hand back on the reins and continued speaking.
“When we caught up to it Tussunbir lights it up with a spell and we see it, a circular ring of 8 eyes, all unblinking, all dark blue, on a disc like coppery colored face that had a huge central maw, filled with razor sharp teeth. It had no arms, but there was a cluster of tentacles that came out of its chest. It also had three oversized legs. It was a hideous, patchwork thing, there was no way it was born, it was assembled.”
“I’ve never heard the like.”
Jimnir nodded, “The thing was mad, I think, it had been carrying around a bag of decapitated heads and using it to bludgeon swamp creatures to death. It also stripped its victims of arms, which the creature would eat. Left everything else behind. Headless, armless bodies left to rot on the side of the trail. What kind of thing only eats arms?”
“Did you kill it?”, Ujin responded.
Jimnir nodded, “We were fortunate, it had been tagged a few times while ambushing the caravan and wasn’t at its best, it still managed to spew hot steam at us from its mouth, scalding a number of the men to death. We lost half our party that day.”
“When it was killed Tussunbir cast a spell to speak with the dead to determine what it was and where it came from. The creature spoke in a broken common and told us that it was created by Galnorak the Redeemed, a warlock who was there at the founding of our city, hundreds of years ago. When Galnorak was killed, it had wandered the marshes quite literally for hundreds of years. It was a unique creation, and it had no purpose to speak of, I gather that it might have been an experiment that unexpectedly survived. Galnorak simply ignored it once created. Warlocks don’t make good mothers I suppose. The beast collected heads and ate arms. It knew nothing of being alive.”
Ujin shook his head, “Remarkable.”
“Yes, and my point is that these marshes are filled with fantastic magic and terrible, terrible things. The body in the water is likely one of those things.”
Jimnir spit out some of what he had been chewing.
“Some things are better left alone Ujin Tohl.”
Ujin surveyed the swamp as they moved along near the river. The men were silent for a time.
“I’ll admit I’m grateful for taking the long way there”, Ujin offered.
Jimnir nodded, “I am as well, Imiran is in a most uncomfortable position, I’m sure between the heat and the bumpy ride he is quite miserable, perhaps even in pain. We need to be careful, though, there will be others looking for him, and you, the Thieves Guild, the Assassin’s Guild...”
Ujin laughed nervously, “I’m popular.”
Jimnir laughed as well, “Yes you are, I am popular as well, but only with House Horn, you have managed to enrage both the Thieves Guild and the Assassin’s Guild, no mean feat for an ajanabee.”
Ujin tilted his head and shrugged his shoulder, “I’ll admit I’m not sure what to do from here.”
Jimnir slowed to skirt a small bush with large thorns.
“I like you Ujin, I think you would fit in well in Bhavisyavani, and Jal Bhains is in need of a new phantasmist to replace the last one he lost. You could stay with the Horde, fight with us, no assassin would risk attacking you when you are with us.”
Ujin bowed his head slightly and closed his eyes for a moment.
“Thank you Jimnir the Garnet, I will consider your offer.”
“Ujin, I won’t dissemble. You are going to die by their hands if you ever re-enter the city, and even if you flee, other than staying with us in perpetuity you will not be safe anywhere. If the Assassin’s Guild went out to find you now after all those years you must be important to them, and they have the resources to do this again.”
Ujin smiled, “I value your honesty, and I can’t fault your logic. But I want another option, another path. I need to think on this.”
Jimnir nodded, “Perhaps Jal Bhains will have counsel on this matter. He has surprised me in the past with his wisdom, he seems like a straightforward man, but when you get to know him he is both subtle, cunning and far more knowledgeable than you might expect.”
“I will take whatever inspiration I can find.”
The men rode on in silence for a time. Ujin, as his giant spider was following in line, had his hands freed up. He reached into a pouch and removed a small stone, about the size of his hand. He then removed a steel knife from his bag, not a combat knife, but a carving knife. He then proceeded carve away at the stone, shaping what appeared to be a leg on some four legged creature he was making.
Jimnir looked over and his eyebrow shot up.
“Are you a sculptor as well?”
Ujin nodded, “Most phantasmists are artists, the ability to create something out of a vision in your mind and the raw materials you have, paint, stone, wood, whatever, that’s a skill related to the ability to shape illusions. A phantasmist learns to focus their mind and instantiate their illusions for all to see by practicing some kind of artistic expression.”
Ujin dragged the knife blade down the side of the stone, defining the leg further. He blew away some stone dust and dragged the knife down the side of the stone again.
“What are you making?” Jimnir was curious.
Ujin chuckled, “I won’t tell you, when I’m done you can tell me.”
Ujin reached in to his pouch and took out another soft stone sculpture. This one was complete, it was about the size of his hand, and it was clearly a sculpture of a black dragon. It even had markings like Jimnir’s dragon. He tossed the sculpture to Jimnir, who caught it and marvelled at its intricacies.
“Why thank you Ujin.”
“I had contemplated carving you a romantic interest, but it occurred to me that might just be cruel given that you are stuck out here.”
Jimnir arched an eyebrow and placed the sculpture in one of his many pouches.
The men rode for the rest of the afternoon, Ujin found the heat particularly unpleasant, and even the lizard men were finding it oppressive. The group did their best to find shade periodically and to drink as much as possible. Doing so slowed the trip, but they arrived relatively intact, though tired, at Jal Bhains’ camp as the sun was sinking into the distant mountains, blanketing their peaks with golden orange radiance.
Jimnir called down the dragon to walk beside him so he comrades didn’t think to try and kill it.
They were taken immediately to Jal Bhains when Jimnir was sighted.
As they entered the camp Ujin saw a group of perhaps 20 saan working spits where boar, alligator and rabbits were turned over fires. Ujin had always assumed that saan liked their meat raw, but apparently they liked it cooked as well. The smells were maddeningly good, and Ujin wanted nothing more than to eat.
They continued past.
All but one of the saan from their group disappeared into the camp, leaving the men alone, the last one took Imiran and walked him along beside them. Even though he was bound the saan placed a blade at his throat.
The men found Bhains sitting cross legged under a large nyris blossom tree, its bright yellow blossoms littering the ground below like a carpet of gold in the soft, dying light of the day. The holy man was not in possession of any weapons, and he sat dressed in simple leggings with his chest exposed. Ujin could see the illusionary script that he had tattooed on Bhains’ body, he had asked to be marked by Ujin when they first met.
Bhains did not turn around.
“Jimnir the Garnet and Ujin Tohl the Viridescent, you have brought me a guest.”
Jimnir spoke first, “Ujin Tohl was betrayed by his former master Jal Bhains, the Black Cloak Guild sold him out to the Bhavisyavani Thieves Guild, they were planning to turn him over to the Bhavisyavani Assassins Guild, for a tidy sum of gold.”
“And yet Ujin Tohl stands with you, or is it just his phantasm that is here?”
Jimnir chuckled, Ujin wasn’t yet comfortable enough for that.
“With some assistance from me Ujin was able to find and capture the man who was going to turn him over to the guild… Imirann Shinn.”
Jal Bhains let out a hiss and a sigh. The shaman then stood and turned around. Ujin had forgotten how… large Jal Bhains was in person. He had a commanding presence, when he turned to face them Ujin immediately stood up taller. He wasn’t sure why he did it.
Imiran was gagged and Jimnir’s dragon had coiled itself up around his feet, so the thief was already nervous, the dragon’s maw mere inches from his body. When Jal Bhains turned around Ujin heard a whimper from the guildsman.
Imiran Shiin had planned on selling Ujin to an assassin’s guild for a cult sacrifice to a dark god. Ujin felt no remorse as Imiran lost his composure, wept, and started shaking.
“Let him cry”, the phantasmist thought.
Jal Bhains laughed, it was a strangely affectionate laugh, as if he had discovered something immensely pleasing to him, and he was reacting with pure, untainted joy.
“Yama drinks your tears footpad, and feasts on the hearts of the men who died because you failed.”
Imiran Shinn said nothing.
Jal Bhains turned to Jimnir.
“What do you have to tell me of what has happened, Jimnir?”
Jimnir bowed his head to the shaman, and held out both hands palms up. He was offering himself up for sacrifice, the traditional way to greet a priest of Yama. By one tale, Yama ascended to become a god as he was the first human to die. To be slain by a priest of Yama was an honor, to Jimnir offering himself this way maintained trust with Jal Bhains.
And Jimnir genuinely did not know at any time if it would be the day he was killed by the enigmatic saan.
Bhains hissed and screeched.
Jimnir stood full to height.
“Jamla Jal Bhains, ro las feeram”
Jimnir pointed to the dragon.
“I charmed this beast in the marsh, it will struggle against me for a time, but I will be spending much time with it for the next few days, if I give it my attention and allow it to hunt it will be more disposed when the charm breaks.”
Jal Bains’ eyes lit up as pinions of firelight alighted across them, “I’ve wrestled a few of those, even that big, stay behind the muzzle and you do alright.”
Ujin half expected that Jimnir would set the dragon on the lizard man, but instead Jal Bhains walked up to the dragon and grabbed it’s snout, camping it shut, and he put his eyes at the dragon’s level, so to block it seeing anything else.
“Pamar sai imur amred, kul ank imotu yoan umosu.”
He released the dragon’s mouth and turned his back to it, walking over to Jimnir.
The dragon sneezed and hissed and lay down at Jimnir’s feet.
Bhains stood silent as Jimnir spoke again.
“Ujin Tohl and I found Rizzal and killed him. And a priest of Kali, and a number of the faithful. Tarwin has tried to have me killed several times, he was compromising our raids by having his men try to attack me when I was vulnerable. I know you have spoken to us about peace in the camp. I was not able to close my eyes to sleep. I even brought the night walkers to your camp, I would not have done that if I didn’t know a mortal threat.”
Jimnir paused and took a swig of water.
“We then found the man who was Ujin’s target, Imiran, and Ujin was caught as his Guildmaster had informed Shinn of his imminent arrival. Ujin delivered himself to the trap as he didn’t know it was one.”
Bhains laughed, and walked over to Ujin, he reached over and slapped him on the arm, hard, almost knocking him over.
“Smarter than me, eh?”, and Bhains laughed hard.
Ujin did as well.
Jimnir laughed, but then calmed.
“He was betrayed by someone he trusted, Jal Bhains, there is no shame in that. And he was a beast, he outsmarted his hunters by distracting them, he sprung their trap, but he called in the khargg hul he let them loose and made his escape. He fought like a cornered animal, Jal Bhains, no limits and no mercy, he gifted Yama with honor.”
Ujin thought, the “empty dead”, his shadows, how far had they spread before they were contained by the House priests?
Jal Bhains sat down on a rock and drank from a wineskin, looking directly at Imiran Shinn.
"You had all your men, your trap was sprung, he was only one man! You were waiting, like the jungle cat, eh?"
Jal Bhains laughed again. He turned to Ujin, "Jimnir has convinced me you have some fire, I want him dead, what do you want done with him?
Somehow the offense at an outsider having a say on his fate pushed Imiran Shinn to speak out loud.
"You have no bond on me headstripe, you are not from here, your word is empty."
Ujin looked at Jal Bhains in deference, Bhains grinned and pulled back his lips to reveal his jagged, shiny teeth, he looked ready to devour.
Ujin turned to Imiran, "You have told me a league of assassins will be after me to use me in a ceremony for their depraved goddess, I have nothing to lose here, you have given me the gift of a clear vision. I fight for survival, mercy is not called for."
Jimnir walked forward, waiting for a sign of disapproval from Ujin, with none forthcoming he then took out a liquid blue wand from a quiver on his belt. He grabbed something from a pocket with his other hand and walked up to Imiran. He placed the wand under his chin and held up a severed finger with a ring on it.
Ujin was later to learn that Jimnir was a fair knife fighter, the staff was the new addition to his repertoire. He was also a capable carver.
"Jal Bhains can call the dead, cur, the warlock is not yet gone you know, it takes time for his spirit to fly. I'll know command words for this by midnight."
Imiran Shinn stared empty eyed at the ground.
"I have a use for this man Jal Bhains", Ujin spoke.
The shaman waved his hand.
Ujin looked at Shinn and spoke calmly.
"Me or him, your choice."
Shinn snarled, "the Guild will strip your skin before the assassins get you, everyone comes for you Ujin Tohl, Ujin Tohl the Doomed!"
Ujin ignored the rant, "Your choice?"
The thief lost his fire seeing the leering saan, Ujin knew that Shinn was picturing foul ceremonies and torture. He was sheet white as Jal Bhains leered at him.
"You", Imiran’s voice was a whisper.
He looked at Jal Bhains and he waved one of his men over and pointed him to Ujin.
Ujin whispered in the saan’s ear and he left. Ujin then walked up to Shinn
and stood beside him.
"Have you lived here for long?"
Shinn looked confused, "Yes… born here."
Ujin pointed west to the city, "You can see it from here, the sun sinks behind the day, it shimmers in gold and orange, streaked with murderous red. So much blood eh? How many die by the sword every day in Bhavisyavani? Blood and death, it can be beautiful."
Shinn said nothing, and stared at the ground.
Ujin began a droning incantation that lasted for a short time, and then he leaned in to whisper to Shinn, "Watch the sunset, the city is born anew for you in its flames, see its terrible beauty."
Imiran collapsed to his knees and his arms went limp. He stared at the sun, frothing up the clouds to frame Bhavisyavani with a crown of grey, white, orange and crimson. The distant city stood tall on the horizon, the flicker of passing swarms of bats obscuring it like some distant god was forgetting the city then remembering it again, calling it in and out of existence.
Imiran Shinn gazed at it, his face relaxing to a smile, the spell Ujin had cast compelled him to look at the city, and it seemed to calm him and bring him some degree of peace.
Then a battle axe with a 3 foot curved blade was brought down on Imiran's neck, neatly severing his head from his body. The large saan who did the deed picked up the head by the hair and handed it to Ujin.
Ujin walked over to one of the fire pits and held the head, dripping fresh blood, over the flames. The fire sealed off the exposed flesh of the severed neck, cauterizing the wound.
He then set gave the head back to the saan and asked him to keep it for him. He turned to Jal Bhains.
"If I may beg your indulgence Jal Bhains, I have work to do with this."
Bhains smiled, "Yes of course."
Jimnir spoke up when the shaman finished speaking.
"Ujin, Rizzal kept a small traveling spell book here at the camp, I can show you to his quarters where it is kept. If Jal Bhains has no objections Rizzal's quarters are yours, he rarely used them anyway."
Bhains nodded in assent.
Both men bowed and left as others removed Imiran Shinn's headless corpse. Shinn had been responsible for the deaths of many from Bhain’s tribe. His corpse was stripped, cut up and fed to the giant lizards and frogs
Jimnir and Ujin made their way to a large purple tent that was dark, no torches burned there, and there was no sound coming from it at all. The saan with Imiran Shinn’s head was told to wait outside.
Jimnir lit a few covered lamps and the tents interior was revealed. It was strewn with carpets and cushions, there was a bed and a small table, as well as a small pile of books, mostly treatises on magical issues. There was a quill, ink and paper on the table, a collection of what looked like exotic daggers on a small table by the bed, and a number of ink sketches in a pile sticking out of a case.
Ujin pulled out one of the ink sketches, it portrayed the distant city of Bhavisyavani, framed by clouds and held in a bowl of reeds, water and trees. Ujin replaced the sketch and looked around.
Jimnir pointed to one of the small stools by the back table, the table was pushed against the side of the tent and the stool at the back was inaccessible. Jimnir pulled out the table and sat on the back stool.
From there he looked down at the ground and reached for an edge, pulling back a trap door revealing a chest in a cavity below.
"Rizzal was blinded by ambition, he missed obvious things. One day he sought to intimidate me by calling me into his tent and dressing me down with a baseless accusation, loud enough for all the men outside the tent to hear. He thought that if they couldn't see me ignoring him but only hear his words they would think he was in charge and that I was taking him seriously."
Jimnir leaned forward and smiled.
"He probably saw me cast scrying spells dozens of times, sat beside me as I explained that I could only scry areas I had been to, sat beside me as I used the spells to scout areas, ambush troops. Maybe a hundred times he did this. But it hadn't occurred to him that once I had been in his tent I could scry on him at my leisure.”
Jimnir took out a small flask from his pants and took a drink, he offered Ujin and the phantasmist had a taste, it was peaty, sharp and just a bit sweet.
“He always pushed back the table, sat on this stool, then opened the chest, and he never used a key."
Ujin looked over the chest, it was solid looking, and there was an obvious keyhole in the front.
There was no script or markings of any kind on the chest, no obvious wards or protections. Ujin took his sword and passed it around the chest slowly and gently, locating no wires or switches around it.
He looked closely at the top of the chest, sometimes there was a simple wire on the inside, you unlock the chest and lift and it pulls the wire, springing a trap. Ujin reached in a pouch and took out a flat, thin piece of metal, about a half foot long, slid it along the seam between the top of the chest and its side. It was thin enough to slide through the gap. Ujin moved it slowly around the chest, looking for resistance of any kind but found none.
He looked around the room, there were no solid walls for spring loaded darts to fire from, so any traps would have to come from the floor around the chest. He took out a dagger and scraped the floor gently around the chest, but found no seams, holes or any devices. He also checked under his stool.
Ujin looked over the chest and the cavity in the ground. He noticed that the feet of the chest were each in slight depressions.
“Jimnir, I need light.”
The warlock brought over a lamp.
“No, I need more than that.”
Jimnir smiled, he looked upwards for a moment, judging the height of the tent, and once satisfied he spread out the fingers of both hands and touched his thumbs together.
He spoke the words, “"Ujjait a tűz!"”, and a jet of searing hot flames, a brilliant churn of bright blue, violet and white, lit up the tent.
Ujin studied the depressions a bit more, and then took a dagger and gently placed the blade under the lid and pried the chest open. It popped easily.
Ujin looked into the chest, there was a small alligator skin leather bound book, otherwise unblemished, an ink sketch of a boat rolled up and tied up, a magnifying glass and four large gold statues of snake headed men. Each was about 2 feet tall and laid across the bottom of the chest.
Ujin smiled, he had figured it out. The chest was innocuous as long as you left the heavy gold items in, but if you took them out the chest would rise. It was likely mounted on springs. Once it is up that must spring the trap. It could be anything from breaking a canister of gas when the chest rose to a spring loaded dart from the ground that was triggered when the chest rose.
Either kind of trap would be possible, dig out the ground and drop it in.
Ujin guessed that it was probably gas, he hadn’t found any evidence of an exit point on the ground for a dart, and they were in a tent with little to no furniture, nowhere to conceal the mechanism.
Ujin admired the simplicity of the idea: Leave the gold, everything is fine, take the gold...
He reached gingerly into the chest and took out the spell book.
Nothing untoward happened.
Ujin left everything else behind.
He replaced the lid and put the cover back over the chest.
Jimnir’s spell ended and the men sat at the table.
Ujin investigated the spell book. It was definitely an illusionists book, as soon as Ujin looked inside he recognized the language of the text. There were a number of spells he had already, they could be cast from the book in an emergency.
There were two spells that he did not have that he couldn't use, darkness and suggestion, as he had tried to learn them before and failed. He could cast them once from the book in an emergency.
Then came the part Ujin had been waiting for, spells he did not have and did not know if he would be able to understand.
There were five, Ujin greeted each with exuberance. One allowed him to cast sounds, another to change his appearance but also change his actual body, even fly, a spell to make him invisible, a spell to imbue terror in your enemies... and an illusion spell with all of the sense components. Ujin put some time into reading the spells, while Jimnir sat, pouring from some expensive liquor bottle he had found, clearly enjoying the ability to use Tarwin's things.
Ujin tucked away the small spell book.
Jimnir took out a dagger from his belt and held the dagger out in his hand. There was a word, "Amsal" etched on the blade. He spoke the word and the dagger began to glow with a soft blue light.
“Imiran was not without resources when we took him, Ujin, take the blade.”
He tossed it on the table, Ujin took it.
“And I would also give you this.”
Jimnir took out a ring, it was thin, made of what appeared to be coral, and it was sky blue in color. He handed it to Ujin.
“I believe this catches you if you fall, handy thing for you, I don’t climb walls or fly like a bat.”
Ujin smiled and accepted the ring.
“I kept his gold, his jewels, his Guild ring, and a magic pair of bracers he wore. I’m fairly sure the lightning bolt in his room destroyed his magical leather armor. I give you the falling ring and the dagger as your share.”
Ujin nodded in thanks and placed the dagger in his belt, the ring on his finger, he never worn a magical rings before.
“I also took the warlock’s possessions, at least what I could find before we left, his wand that throws lightning, his wand that scents magic, that’s a find.”
Jimnir patted his small quiver with the wands inside (he had repurposed a crossbow bolt quiver for the purpose.
“He also had two scrolls on him, and a ring, I kept the former and gave the latter to Quass, he has been loyal to me through all this nonsense with Rizzal, he should be rewarded for it.”
Ujin surveyed the tent.
“Given that Tarwin was hostile, could you use that wand of yours to scan the tent, I don’t want to fall prey to some ward or symbol as I sleep.”
Jimnir nodded, he had not obtained the command word for the wand of lightning bolts, but he found the command words for the second wand engraved on its side. The wand was apparently iron, straight with a small sphere at the tip.
“Szaglás varázslat” Jimnir spoke, and the wand began to hum and shake, just slightly, then it started to turn in Jimnir’s hand, he held it very lightly, and it pointed towards Ujin. It did nothing else for a few minutes and Jimnir felt it stop shaking.
“Just you from the looks of it, but that doesn’t include traps”, Jimnir motioned and the two men went outside.
It was a surprisingly cool night, the dark had settled in, and though there were some howls in the distance, and some conversation they could hear from different directions, it was comparatively silent.
Jimnir took out some leaves and packed them into a long ivory pipe he had not taken out before, he sparked it with a small piece of flint and smoked as they stood. His dragon was waiting curled up outside of the tent, it raised its head and then put it back down.
Jimnir blew smoke that blocked the moonlight leaving roiling shadows on patches of light from other tents.
“You are safe here for a time, sleep, rest and decide what you will do.”
Ujin nodded, “I have been thinking about this since I discovered that the guild was after me. And I think I know what I need to do. It will involve going back into the city, and eventually delivering a message to the guild.”
Jimnir inhaled, held it and exhaled a huge plume of smoke.
“I don’t suppose that’s what Imiran Shinn’s head is for?”
“It is part of the message, yes.”
Jimnir offered the pipe to Ujin, who took a draw and smiled.
The two men stood talking for another hour, Ujin shared his plan with Jimnir and they conspired into the night, a small black dragon coiled at their feet