Thursday, May 7, 2020

Urban Adventuring- the Tale of Ujin Tohl the Viridescent- part 8




Ujin rode into the night, galloping down the empty streets of Bhavisyavani, stripped of his magic items and scrolls, on the run from mercenaries, thieves and warlocks.

He wasn’t afraid though, he was enraged.

Someone had betrayed him. Jimnir, Jal Bhains, Siket Tun from the Temple of Yama, Qwil Wohn, Imiran’s assistant, a colleague of Joven, the guide he killed, or Rizzal Tarwin, the phantasmist that he killed?

It was a long list, but it didn’t matter, Ujin only cared about finding out who had betrayed him. And that meant confronting Imiran Shinn. Shinn was the one that almost caught him, Shinn was chasing him at the moment, along with 10 mercenaries and a warlock. Ujin was outnumbered, outmatched, in an unfamiliar city and on the run for his life.

He didn’t care, Shinn knew who betrayed him and he would have words with him, and if that meant killing everyone in his way then they would die. 

More gifts for Yama.

He looked back and the giant lizards were still behind him, fortunately he was fast enough that he was in no danger of being overtaken, as long as he didn’t run into another Ward patrol. Ujin made a direct line for one of the larger causeways, he wanted to be visible from a distance so he could increase the gap between him and his pursuers but not lose them entirely. He wanted them where he could find them so he could complete his task.

His first stop was the Tunker’s Prince Inn. He needed access to the magic items he had stored there, as there was a chance he could use them to get back the items he left at Imiran’s place. However, he did not want to fight Imiran and his men at Tunker’s place. That might get the halfling or his family killed, Ujin had taken a liking to Tunker, he would not risk his life if he didn’t have to.

Ujin turned on to a major thoroughfare and made a straight line for the end of the road. By the time he was almost at the end the lizards emerged on to the causeway and charged forward. Ujin banked left at the end of the causeway and headed back towards his Ward. The lizards continued pursuit. At this point Ujin poured on the speed and didn’t worry if they found him or not, he needed to get to his room as soon as he could.

Ujin decided to try the rooftops, he had made good time doing that before. He rode until he found a low enough roof that he could climb to thanks to a parked cart. Once roof bound he managed to make a more or less direct line for the Inn this way, saving himself some time and increasing the distance between him and his pursuers. 

Finally, the Inn was in sight.


Ujin made his way down from the building he was on and dashed for the Inn. 

At the gate, Ujin leaned over and turned a key in a lock, and the gates swung open. He charged directly into the archway, the lobby was empty at this hour. 

The Inn, as he discovered, was in a building that was originally a gift to one Lord Tarmal of House Aerew some 50 years ago. Lord Tarmal had done a crucial service through one of his House warlocks for an important foreign noble who had to turn to outside sources for help, and the tower was his gift in return. 

Lord Tarmal challenged a merchant to an arena fight after a disagreement, little did he know that the merchant in question, one Tris Kjandar, was a retired warrior, and none too shabby with the bastard sword. Lord Tarmal was defeated, his property was all given to Kjandar (who in a final insult, turned down the House Lordship he had just earned), who sold off much of it and gave away the rest. Kjandar had adventured years ago with Tunker’s father, a halfling scout named Gitthal Mollwine, and Kjandar owed him his life several time over. The merchant gifted the building to Gitthal, who had settled down in Bhavisyavani but had been unable to buy any property due to the costs. Gitthal passed the building on to Tunker.

The building, designed for a Bhavisyavani Lord, was meant to be a residence for warlocks and honored house warriors, and to accommodate their “exotic” mounts and other creatures that often accompanied them. It was a triangle 100 feet long on each side, and there were two apartments per floor of the 7 floor building, as well as the “onion” on top. That left ample room for a stairwell, and in this case it was built as a ramp, it cut the triangle in half from base to tip and then doubled back, back and forth, up the building, which was a prism.

It was more than wide enough for Ujin’s spectral horse. 

Ujin charged up the ramp on his phantom steed as fast as he could, passing at least one surprised occupant, who rubbed his eyes as Ujin shot by. He dismounted and unlocked his door, he ran into the main area, pushed back the stone table and opened the hatch. 

Everything was still there, so Tunker didn’t betray him.

He grabbed his spell book, the scrolls and his knife and left immediately. He glanced out the window as he left the room and caught a glimpse of the giant lizards several streets over, heading in his general direction, they would empty into the square within a few minutes at this rate.

Then Ujin had an idea.

He charged down the ramp to the arch and exited the building. He rode out past the statue of the voidnik octopus and stopped. He watched the long road heading south and waited for the men to appear. In moments the first of the giant lizards appeared, Imiran Shinn and his warlock along with them. Between the Inn and here they had picked up a pair of what appeared to be ogres running along beside Gulltin the Krohthnak. 

Perhaps he had summoned them.

Ujin waited until he was sure that they saw him by the statue, then he turned his mount and galloped north to a strip of parkland in the south east corner of the Ward, it was filled from one end to the other with trees and extensive foliage, with only a few trails leading through the verdant mass. Unfortunately Ujin’s potion of plant control had faded, but he had other plans. Once he made it to about the halfway point along the park he stopped, turned his steed and took out a scroll. He read from the scroll as he waited for his pursuers. They would turn the corner and see that Ujin was not on the main road, so the only other place for him to be was in the park. 

The words on the scroll shifted and wavered as Ujin read them, “Pojď ke mně, divoká zvířata”…

He was taking a chance casting this spell as it was more powerful than his normal contingent of spells, which meant he could only cast it from a scroll, any mistake and the spell could backfire or just fizzle. But he needed to whittle down his opposition. It was worth the risk, if it went sideways he could always turn tail on his spectral mount.

He finished the words of the spell and returned it to his pack. After several more moments he noticed movement to his right, and three jaguars appeared. He pointed at the jungle ahead and they melted into the greenery. He pulled back on his phantom steed about 50 feet or so and turned around, just visible to anyone coming down the path in the darkness.

Water dripped from the leaves above, and Ujin saw movement in the grass as a pair of snakes slithered by.

Then he saw the lizards, the first one appeared on the path ahead, it was the fastest of the bunch, dark green with black spots and bright green eyes, it bounded down the path at a terrible speed, well ahead of the next one. A mercenary on its back held a loaded crossbow in his hand and pointed it forward as he rode. 

As it reached a point around 70 feet away the first jaguar leapt from the trees to land on the mercenary’s back, knocking him from the giant lizard to the ground and raking him with all four claws, then sinking its jaws into his neck.

The jaguar tore out his throat and he died, gurgling.

His giant lizard, bereft of a rider, charged into the trees and fled.

The next lizard appeared and the rider saw the jaguar feasting on his former colleague. As he held up his crossbow to shoot the beast another one of the jaguars leapt onto him and began to savagely claw his face. 

They both went down off the giant lizard, the mercenary dropped his crossbow and desperately tried to take out a dagger, but the cat mauled him before that could happen.

These two riders were the fastest, the rest lagged behind and were soon to appear.

Ujin took advantage of the time and took out a piece of fleece from his component pouch. 

He hid behind a large purple flowered plant with long black leaves and cast an illusion over the path leading to him. The existing path was covered with an illusion of trees and bushes in a tangle. The actual trees and bushes beside the path were covered with an illusion of darkness, at this late hour the jungle was dark, the moonlight only providing stabbing shards of light, so Ujin made it look like the path branched off to the right by having darkness there rather than the faint outline of trees that would normally be seen.

The next giant lizard, with two riders, came storming down the path, the giant lizards were not necessarily as fast as horses, but they were large, and quite heavy, so as they careened down the path they had a lot of momentum. The lizard crashed full speed into what he thought was an empty path, but instead was a cluster of large trees. Neither the two riders nor the giant lizard saw the trees as they smashed into them, the lizard bounced from one tree to another, and came crashing down on its side. One of the riders went down underneath the giant lizard, crushed to death, the other was smashed by a tree branch and flew off the beast to land on the ground with a “snap”, his neck twisted.

Dead.

The next giant lizard with two riders slowed, they had seen the first giant lizard go to the right and then there was a crash and screaming, but they couldn’t see what happened as the darkness Ujin was projecting with the illusion to make it look like the path continued on concealed the giant lizard and downed riders ahead.

Both riders took out crossbows and aimed them forward.

Then two of the jaguars landed on the top of the giant lizard, one in front of the first rider, one behind the second, and they both lunged forwards, attacking the two men. One of the mercenaries was fast enough to fire off his crossbow and hit one of the jaguars, but then the third leapt from a tree branch and knocked the rider off to the ground, where it tore him to pieces.

The first jaguar landed on the back rider and savaged him before he could respond.

The wounded jaguar fell off the giant lizard as it bounded, riderless, into the bush.

The last two mercenaries held back, crossbows loaded, both fired on the wounded jaguar and killed it.

The remaining two jaguars growled at the men and stalked them from a distance.

Imiran Shin and Gulltin the Krohthnak approached behind them. Gulltin was flanked by two large ogres, Imiran Shinn was directly behind the two remaining mercenaries, both on the same giant lizard.

“Call off your jaguars Tohl, I will grant you mercy if you accept…”

Imiran shin stopped talking when the two jaguars leapt on the ogre to the right of Gulltin, the first landed on its front and sank its teeth into the ogre’s neck, while slashing at its face with its foreclaws and landing one hit. The second jaguar landed on the ogre’s back and bit the ogre’s right shoulder, its foreclaws landed on its back, and it raked the ogre with its back claws as well.

The ogre bellowed and tried to grab the jaguar on its front and shake off the one on its back.

Gulltin pulled back his giant lizard to avoid being caught in the fray. The two mercenaries loaded crossbows to fire at the jaguars. Imirann Shinn spit and took out his own crossbow and fired at the jaguar on the front of the ogre, hitting it in the back. 

The jaguar roared, but between the crossbow bolt and the ogre’s pummelling fists it was dislodged and hit the ground. 

The mercenaries fired crossbows and finished it off.

The second jaguar clawed and bit at the ogre again, the monster unable to shake it off of its back, and it crashed to the ground bleeding. 

The jaguar sat atop the dead ogre, panting, dripping blood from its jaws and mad with feral rage.

The second ogre had retreated with Gulltin as commanded.

“Kutta ghatiya insaan”, Imiran cursed, “you go too far Tohl, they wanted you alive, I want you DEAD!”

“They”, Ujin thought.

Ujin changed his improved phantasmal force illusion, and “he” appeared on the path ahead of the men, perhaps 30 feet away. Gulltin the Krohthnak’s familiar spotted the illusory phantasmist and screeched at his master. Gulltin held up his blue metallic wand and with his familiar looking ahead he fired a lightning bolt at the illusory Ujin and a blinding white flash lit up the forest. The ragged bolt smashed into a tree, felling it with a crash.

Ujin then made his spectral duplicate ride away into the jungle, off the path. At this point he abandoned the illusion and let it go on its own for a short time. Imiran, Gulltin, the two mercenaries and the ogre followed the illusory Ujin, and after they had made it into the overgrown brush the real Ujin laughed loudly from a place far off from the illusion as it disappeared into the darkness.


Imiran Shinn was red faced with anger as he shouted, “TOOOHHHLLLL!”


The thief and his men climbed back to the path through the underbrush and continued the pursuit towards his cry.


Ujin made haste now towards Imiran’s place, he knew he was faster than the thief and his men, so he could make it there first. He glimpsed back several times to ensure that he was still being pursued, but otherwise he maintained a full charge to get there.

When he arrived back on the street he saw the aftermath of the battle that had gone on with Jimnir. The ground was scorched in a thick ring in the middle of the street. Three anhkhegs lay butchered on the ground, with spears, crossbow bolts and sword wounds all over them. 

About five Ward soldiers lay dead, snapped in half by anhkheg mandibles. Another 10 ward soldiers lay on the ground dead from various wounds, leaving 5 unaccounted for. 

There were no live city  guards here.

Then Ujin remembered the shadows. The original shadows summoned for the spell were long gone, but the shadows they made during the conflict were still around. That meant that there were likely 9 or 10 shadows roaming the streets of the city, assuming that none of them were killed during the melee. There was a druid with the patrol, perhaps she was dealing with the shadows now. That was likely why there weren’t Ward patrols here now, the threat of the shadows spreading further would no doubt have taken the priority, shadows were like a disease, spreading through the population like wildfire.

Ujin shuddered at the darkness he had uncaged to save his life.

Imiran’s place looked deserted, there was still a smoking hole in the second floor window. 

Ujin was contemplating finding a way to get his spectral horse up to the second floor of the house when Jimnir appeared in front of the hole in the second floor wall.

Ujin still did not know who betrayed him, and Jimnir was supposed to have left.

Ujin looked behind him, the men had not caught up yet, and he had to make a decision to trust or not to trust Jimnir, right now.

“Why are you here, we were supposed to separate.”

Jimnir nodded, “Yes, well, I saw you get chased off and that Shinn was chasing you, and the Ward patrols chased off after your shadows. Figured I would come back and loot his place, I found some of your things!”

Ujin nodded, he had no time to figure this out, and Imiran was on his way. He looked around the street until he saw a low lying building that would give him access to a roof, and from there he could make it over to the roof of the Broken Sword tavern.

He rode as quickly as he could, as he knew that Imiran was on his heels.

He arrived on the roof of the Inn and Jimnir, who had made his way up separately, was waiting with Ujin’s cloak, sword and potion.

Ujin took them back and nodded in thanks.

“Someone betrayed me”, Ujin spoke directly as he took out a scroll from his pack.

Jimnir nodded, “When I heard that voice announcing your presence over and over, I figured the same, someone knew you were coming.”

Ujin could now hear the approaching group, Imiran Shinn had figured out their destination and was even more enraged. His warlock could be tracking them.

“Imiran Shinn knows who did this to me, so I plan to take him alive and get answers”, Ujin’s tone was final, he was not inviting debate. Jimnir picked up on that.

“Do you want to do this now? We could disappear, come back replenished, take him unawares.”

Ujin shook his head, “No, this ends now.”

He began to read from the scroll.

Ujin knew he was taking another risk, this was again a spell of greater power than what he was used to wielding. He didn’t care, he would have his word with Imiran Shinn, and he would learn who betrayed him…



Imiran and his men arrived on the street and charged forward to the Broken Sword Tavern. Jimnir had made himself scarce, the warlocks agreed that he would only get involved if absolutely necessary.

As Ujin completed the spell there was a faint noise, like the hissing of a snake, and behind him four shadow archers appeared, a fine black mist rising off their forms, their arrows glistening liquid ebony and their eyes dull as pitch.

The shadow archers whispered, a sound only Ujin could hear.

“Where… where… where… where…”

Ujin concentrated and one shadow archer stayed with him, another went to a building directly across the street, another to a building across the street and four buildings down, and the last four buildings down on his side. All appeared in the shadows.

The shadow archers whispered again, “When… when… when… when…”

“Soon”, whispered the phantasmist.

All four shadow archers were completely silent.

As the party approached Ujin whispered to the shadow archers again, “If the warlock moves his hands or speaks, kill him.”

Imiran stopped about 40 feet from his Tavern, he, two of his mercenaries, a charmed ogre and the Warlock Gulltin the Krohthnak were gathered with him.

“You have some brass coming back here!” Imiran shouted.

Ujin smiled, he was in a killing mood, he pointed at the floating warlock.

“Keep your dog on a leash or I will geld him for you.”

Imiran sneered, “You demand nothing of me ajanabee!”

Ujin looked at the shadow archer beside him and pointed at the mercenary to the right of the warlock.

Two black arrows shot silently from the flickering dark of its spectral bow, both flew true and hit the mercenary in the chest.

He collapsed, dead and cold as ice.

Ujin pointed to the other archers on the other buildings.

“If your dog twitches a hand, grabs anything, or speaks a word, he gets the same.”

Imiran stewed in silence for several seconds, then turned to Gulltin with an enraged look. He motioned to the second mercenary to move in front of Gulltin, which he did. The warlock reached over to grab a steel blue wand that was floating beside him on his disc, as soon as his hand moved out eight arrows came in two volleys, the first two arrows hit the mercenary and shot through his body, he collapsed to the ground dead.


The remaining six arrows were unhindered as they flew towards Gulltin, he had some sort of magical ward in place as the shadow arrows shimmered slightly as they headed to the warlock, as if they passed through some sort of barrier, but the barrier did not stop them.


Four of the six ebon missiles pierced the warlock and he dropped the wand he was grasping, and collapsed forward on his floating disc.

Dead.


The two ogres, formerly charmed by the warlock, were now free of his charm. Imiran Shinn was now on his own.


The two ogres looked at him and smiled broadly.


Shinn took out his sword and backed away from the ogres, they knew he was important, and that he had much gold, so they were contemplating kidnapping him.


Ujin pointed at the ogre on the right.


Eight black arrows shot through the night, completely without sound, the ogre was hit six of eight times, and collapsed, not dead, but shaking with cold and numbness. He could barely lift his arm.


Ujin stood, his cloak of the bat flapping in the wind, his hood hanging low in front of his eyes.


“This man is mine.”


The undamaged ogre grunted and spit, Ujin could see the uncertainty in his eyes, but he slowly helped up his companion and they loped away into the night.


Jimnir grabbed Ujin’s shoulder.

“We need to leave, the ward patrols will likely have a handle on those shadows and be back to find the culprit.”

Ujin nodded, Jimnir was in the background, unseen to those below. He whispered to Jimnir, “Go downstairs, wait for him to enter.”

Jimnir nodded and went downstairs. 

“Do you surrender Imiran Shinn, or do I riddle your body with arrows of darkness and use the priests at the temple of Yama to pull the information from you?”

Shinn screamed in frustration, “Arrrgggghhhhhh, you will not live to leave this city, you are a dead man!”

Ujin laughed, “Well then”, he pointed towards Imiran, “I could use some company.”

Imiran blurted out words in panic, “No, no, no!.”

Ujin smiled, “Weapons on the ground, now, hands clasped together behind your head.”

Imiran dropped his sword, a pair of axes and a few daggers on the ground. He put his hands where he was told to. 

“Come forward and enter the Tavern.”

Imiran walked forward to the main entrance and stood in the room, Ujin came down the stairs and was waiting when he arrived.

Imiran Shinn looked Ujin up and down.

“I have to admit, I underestimated you.”

Ujin smiled, pointing behind the thief, “And you have done so again.”

Imiran turned his head to see Jimnir behind him, the warlock placed his staff on Imiran’s shoulder, and the surface of the staff began to move and shift, and suddenly a small, fanged mouth appeared on the side of the staff, and began to gnash its teeth, hungry for flesh. 

Ujin began to hum in a low, droning incantation, while standing in front of Imiran, the thief cocked an eyebrow at first, not sure what Ujin was up to. After several moments of this Ujin spoke to Imiran and made a suggestion.

“I have been betrayed and you have the information I need to find out who did this to me. Come with me now and we will work out a deal. I do not wish to make an enemy of the thieves’ guild, and you don’t want to face the consequences of failing to bring me in.”

The thief looked a bit unfocused for a moment, shook his head, started to nod but stopped, as if he was torn between several courses of action.

He nodded, “Yes, we should leave before the Ward Patrols return… many questions.”

Jimnir left for a moment to run out the body of the dead warlock, he quickly grabbed a ring, several potions a pair of scrolls and two wands from his body, and ran back to rejoin Ujin.


The three men left out a back entrance of the Tavern where Jimnir had stashed his giant lizard and Quass, the saan, had kept it company. Jimnir had Imiran ride in front of him on the giant lizard, Quass ran along beside them, as did Ujin, allowing his spectral steed to dissipate.


They headed towards the eastern gates, even at this hour hunters, including saan hunters, would often head out to the marshes, so it was not that unusual for the three men to come to the city gates in the early, early morning. They exited with minor delay and headed out into the swamp.

The other saan were a half mile out in the swamp, camped near a small cluster of trees.

They sat down the thief and the saan sat around him, within striking distance.

Ujin stood with his sword in hand, Jimnir at his side, and the distant horizon just beginning to feel the first touch of the sun. It was still twilight for the next half hour or so, but the day was coming. Jimnir walked around the fire as it grasped at the sky with tendrils of orange and red, grabbing a copper coin from his belt and twirling it in his fingers.


Ujin spoke plainly, “Tell me everything you know, and I have no reason to keep you here, you may leave with your life. Lie to me and you are of no use, and I will slay you where you sit.”


Imiran was not easily intimidated, “I would never betray my guild to the likes of you, ajanabee, you know nothing, you are already dead.”


Ujin didn’t speak. Instead he reached into his pocket and took out a gemstone, an emerald, and twirled it between his fingers. He waved back Jimnir and the saan as he did so with his other hand.


Imiran looked on in confusion.


“I’m not asking, tell me everything you know.”


Imiran spit on the ground, “Suel mak uhgoll.”


Ujin smiled at the thief, he walked up to him, jammed the emerald in his mouth and spoke the words, “ Rang kshetr”, stood back, and there was an explosion of green and yellow smoke that burst from Shinn’s mouth, he gagged, retched and fell to the ground coughing and choking, wreathed in a sickly yellow and green miasma. 

Heaves racked his body, his eyes streamed tears, and he threw up again and again. At one point Ujin was concerned he might choke and die as he was not breathing for the retching. After a few minutes of this the men closed back in as the cloud dispersed.

Ujin had another emerald in his hand, which he visibly flipped between his fingers.

“Again?” Ujin asked casually.

Imiran, watering eyes dripping and spit hanging from his mouth, shook his head.

“No, no more.”

Ujin smiled, “Tell me everything.”

“You are dead one way or the other, so fine, I will tell you everything”, Imiran was beyond fulfilling his task, he merely wanted to get out of this alive. 

Ujin spoke, “Who is behind all of this, what do they want?”

Imiran Shinn smiled broadly, “The question is not who it is, but who are you?”

Ujin shook his head, “There will be Ward patrols sent out for us, even here in the swamp, so I’m not spending the next hour listening to your cryptic words, answer plainly now or we move back to the original plan, I run you through and the priests of Yama interrogate your spirit.”

Imiran knew that Ujin was capable of doing this, one of his spies had found him in the Temple of Yama earlier that week. The thief sat back and closed his eyes.

“Your father, he worshipped Yama?”

Ujin nodded.

Shinn opened his eyes again.

“Did any others where you come from?”

Ujin shook his head, becoming impatient, “No, my father was a sage from the southlands, my mother was a scribe travelling with a nobleman’s party, they met while travelling and returned to the northlands. I know what you are getting at, it occurred to me he might be from the city, but what of it?”

“Your father was not a sage.”

Ujin laughed, “My father wrote and spoke 12 languages, he had a library as big as your tavern, he was a sage.”

“Perhaps later in life, but before that he was something else.”

Ujin shifted his weight from one foot to the next, he looked directly at Shinn.

“Speak.”

Imiran Shinn smiled, it was a wolfish, uncanny thing, and spoke, “Your father was an assassin for the cult of Kali.”

Ujin laughed out loud this time, “My father was a scholar, I never once saw him raise a hand against anyone.”

Imiran coughed and spit, “Your father, Kalmas Tohn, the “Black Talon”, was one of the finest assassins in a city renowned for its assassins. He rose to the top of the Guild of the Black Feather, the Bhavisyavani assassin’s guild, and was second only to the Grand Master, Hul Bassinir, assassin and devoted priest of Kali. Then Kalmas had a change of heart, he met a priestess of Yama who turned him to the worship of that dark god, and he decided to stage a coup, kill Bassinir, and take over the Guild and turn it to the worship of Yama.”

Ujin caught a glimpse of Jimnir’, he was slowly nodding, meaning that his scrying of Imiran’s mind had not turned up anything unusual, he appeared to be telling the truth, or he was a very, very convincing liar. Jimnir would continue to scan his mind to see if there were any discrepancies.

“So how did he end up thousands of miles away, raising me and living as a sage?” Ujin was still incredulous.

“He failed, Bassinir had him locked away to be tortured in perpetuity, but his priestess and an inside connection sympathetic to him helped him to escape, they moved as far north as they could, he changed his name and became a sage.”

Ujin was confused, “Even if I believed this nonsense, what does this have to do with me?”

Imiran smiled like a demon, “The Black Feather Guild could not tolerate your father’s sin, he had attempted to take over the Guild and had to be punished, Bassinir could not lose face. So he had spent many years tracking your father down, but he wisely moved around and moved far enough away in the end that it was challenging even for someone with the resources of the guild to track him down. Bassinir died a short time later, but the task was taken up by the new Grand Master, he made much of his ability to get the job done when Bassinir could not, and he made it happen, they found out where your father went. Last year they sent out an emissary to discover that your father was dead, and had been dead for several years.”

Ujin nodded, “Well, that you have right, he is dead.”

Imiran Shinn sat up and pushed out his chest, “There is a blood debt, your father betrayed the guild, he is dead and beyond retrieval, did he not ask to have his body burned on death, and his ashes scattered to the wind?”

Ujin’s stomach dropped, this Bhavisyavani thief knew the details of his life, the story was beginning to sound more and more real.

“Yes.”

“Is that the tradition in your faith?”

Ujin shook his head, “No, I never understood why he wanted that.”

“Your father was terrified of being kidnapped by the guild and tortured in perpetuity, with healing magics they can do that, eternal torment, he was right to be afraid.”

“But he’s dead, and no one knows who I am, why does this matter?”

Imiran put on a conciliatory tone, “The Guild cannot let this rest, your father humiliated a Grand Master of Assassins and shamed the Guild itself. To keep their authority, their fear, their power, they must address this. So they contacted the Bhavisyavani Thieves Guild several months ago and we contacted the Black Cloak Guild, of which you were a former member. They offered your guild master a significant sum of gold and an unspecified future favor to deliver you to me, so he concocted the story about a stolen ring to bring you here. I was to deliver you to the Thieves’ Guild, who were to receive a significant sum from the Assassin’s Guild. And they were to use you in some foul ceremonies to their bitch goddess Kali. You represent power to them, in exacting revenge on you they fulfill their promise to their dark goddess and she rewards them for their faith.”

Ujin felt a hundred pounds heavier, despite the delivery and the circumstances it all had the ring of truth to it. He now remembered nervousness in his Guild Master’s voice, a degree of generality in his words, and a dismissal of many of Ujin’s questions at the time. He also wondered about the story of the stolen ring, as it was the first time he had heard of it, and modesty was not a trait of anyone in the guild. 

It was all there for him to see and he didn’t see it.

He could flee now, and leave the city, but the assassin’s guild would be after him forever. 

Imiran continued, “All went well to start, one of my spies became a regular visitor to the temple of Yama, figuring you would go there first, and you did. But they weren’t sure who you were, and neither was I, until I heard that this ajanabee, this headstripe, had been ambushed by 6 of my men and a kech, and he killed them all.”

Imiran sat back and smiled, “That’s when I knew.”

Ujin said nothing.

“The son of one of Bhavisyavani’s finest assassins was home and was dealing out death like water to the parched. So we prepared for your arrival. I had Gilltin enchant my residence so your presence would set off the ward and my men would be alerted. We were to take you alive, so they would tackle you and be done with it. Imagine my surprise when you started casting spells, I was not told you were a spell caster.”

Ujin did not betray his surprise at hearing this, his old Guildmaster betrayed him, but he did not tell them everything they wanted to know. Ujin didn’t understand it.

“Then”, Imiran continued with a sneer, “I discovered you had found help from Bhains, Bhains of all in Bhavisyavani, you went to him.”

Ujin smiled and nodded, “It worked, didn’t it?”

Imiran tilted his head.

“You have allied yourself with a demon, he will betray you.”

“Not your concern, continue.”

“You have nothing here ajanabee, Bhains cannot take on the Assassin’s Guild, and the guild wants you.”

Ujin refrained from comment. He then turned to the saan and spoke loudly enough that Imiran could hear him, “Tighten his bonds, gag him, if he attempts to leave cut him down and feel free ti feed him to the lizards.”

Ujin walked out of earshot with Jimnir while Quass stood beside the mounts and pointed playfully at Shinn.

Ujin and the warlock discussed what to do next, neither had much hope that Ujin would escape his fate. The Bhavisyavani Assassin’s Guild was a monstrous organization, and they wanted Ujin taken alive for some foul ceremony to their goddess.

The two men talked until the sun came up, and then the party left and headed back to Jal Bains’ camp.

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