Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cold Days, Colder Deeds

The hunter kept his prey in sight, moving over the snow clad rooftops with surefooted grace. The twisting lanes of Luskan stretched out beneath him, but they were for the most part clear of foot traffic. The old man who was his mark strode the streets seemingly unaware of the freezing cold that had decended upon the city with teeth bared like a barbarian horde.

Moredlin walked to the Hosttower, head down and lost in thought. There would be more palavering this afternoon about the Waterdeep situation. Some mages wanted to urge the city fathers to call an open war with the mighty city-state, others favored more secretive action. There was even a small minority, they could be counted on one hand, that wanted peace. Moredlin was one of the more vocal proponents of violence. Unfortunately, all the talking drew more and more of his time from his alchemical experiments. Grudin, his imp familiar, grumbled and shifted his perch on his master's shoulder. The tiny demon preferred more warmer climes, and the past sixteen years had been hell for the creature.
Moredlin looked up as he heard someone call his name. It was Leona Titansdotter, a freakishly huge woman, yet human. She specialized in transmutation and had been a supporter, and lover, of his. She was waiting at the end of the street that opened onto the broad plaza that surrounded the Hosttower. Moredlin raised his hand in response, pleased to see a friendly face so early in the day. His vision was then obscured by a red mist, that seemed to erupt from his throat. His words of greeting were choked off by a flow of blood. He took a step, then another. His knees weakened and he dropped to the paving stones supported by his hands, his life's blood pouring out. The dying mage looked up and as his sight darkened into death, he saw Leona rushing up to him, her face a mask of horror.

Romney rolled behind a stone crennaltion shaped like a stone gargoyle. He slid his rifle into its cover, slid his arm through the shoulder strap and rose to a crouch. He scuddled over to the opposite of the roof, freeing a rope and grapnel. In a rush, Romney leapt into the air, trailing out a short tail of rope. The grapnel bounced, skittered and then caught the lip of the edge. Romney fell and then stopped the dropping with a jerk. He allowed the rope to unspool and slid down to the street. At this hour of the morning, this street was empty. He heard raised voices and cries coming from the next street over. Romney smiled grimly to himself. Let Piergeron keep his Order of the Firelances; when the world needed to be set straight, the Paladinson knew where to find him.

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