Friday, March 2, 2012

Fear Creeps Like A Shadow


"Captain!"


Myndalyn Arbannon looked up from the map that he'd been frowning over, reviewing the route of the next leg of their voyage. His second-in-command, what the humans would call his first mate, came barreling into the maproom of elven cog, Jhavarin's Blessing, moored at a pier at Waterdeep docks.

The second dropped a twine-tied bundle onto the map desk, "This was found on the deck. Lorash had the watch last eve and states no one ever approached the ship. Nor did he see the package 'til I pointed it out."

Myndalyn looked from his second to the bundle and back, his frown switching from concentration to confusion. "And no one else saw this, either?"

"They were just getting updeck, setting about the morning chores." the second informed.

Nodding, Myndalyn drew the knife that was thrust through his belt. The wide blade, more a tool than a weapon, easily sliced through the cord that held the bundle together. He then unwrapped the bundle, which was an animal skin, revealing a tunic. It was blue in color, but there were large rust-colored stains covering. Slashes covered the fabric.

"What is... " started the second.

Myndalyn unfolded the tunic, the shirt stiff from the colored patches. He ran his hand over the embroidery, recognition dawning upon his face. "This is Kendal's" he muttered to himself.

"The cabin boy? Surely not, my captain!" whispered the second.

The elven captain looked up sharply, anger clouding his face. "I would certainly recognize the tunic given by my sister to her youngest son, my nephew, before he left on his first voyage."

Myndalyn continued to unfold the tunic, finding a scrap of parchment amongst the folds. He unfolded it, holding it close to the cabin's lamp. Scrawled crudely in elven, the message read "elves go home". The captain looked up at his second and asked "Do we have any crew offship today?"

"No, my captain. All hands are remaining aboard. We merely await Kendal and the prince. I assumed the boy was simply lost in a lover's arms, spending away his money at his first port," answered the second.

The note crumpled as Myndalyn's hand balled into a fist. In a voice mixed with rage and fear, he said, "Open the weapon's chest. I need to make a trip to Celegral the delegate."

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