Friday, April 13, 2012

Tales from Skullport

There are times when sorcerers need loyal protectors who have mastered the art of swordplay. These guardians and enforcers are known as Thayan knights; familiar with magic and devoted to none but the Red-robed ones.

Born with no sorcerous bloodline, young boys are trained in martial arts; languages and spellcraft. During the feast of Labraen, a day when its constellation is at its zenith, squires are required to prove themselves in various contests of will, cunning and stamina. Many are knighted and are entered into these specialized Thayan ranks; alternately there are others who are sent west in disgrace…                                                                                                                                                 
Sturm Brightblade has always led his life following the Thayan knight code. Outcast from the order over twenty years ago; he could always find a mage or alchemist who needed a trustworthy sword or translator. Ironically Sturm has been fulfilling his training since Homen Abarbrent and his family has been in Waterdeep. Sturm has devoutly served the Thayan Ambassador in many ways often as proxy; today however brings the bitter taste of interrogating a spy.  

Brightblade was not Sturm’s family name; his truename was one that invoked horrible madness to anyone who hears him speak it, besides Brightblade sounded trustworthy and honorable. Nevertheless, Sturm found a sadistic pleasure in sharing his truename with individuals he thought he could manipulate, but more often than not such experiments ended with unintended results.

Sturm entered the dungeon chamber where the spy was being incarcerated; a box, known as an alchemist’s box because it once contained a complete traveling laboratory. The box was being tended to by two knolls or “watch dogs” that sniffed the air curtly when Sturm entered; a low growl emanated from the gnoll on the left.

“Open the box.” Sturm ordered the gnoll on the right, and when he did the first thing the creature in the box saw was a very agitated monstrous gnoll.

Sturm looked down at unfortunate man in the box. He was short for a man with a finely groomed mustache, expensive clothes, and… was that perfume? He barked orders to the gnolls while pacing counter clockwise around the spy who only watched. After what seemed like a long time to the spy, the gnolls returned with various instruments of pain and exploratory tools. Looking into the captive’s eyes, Sturm began to ask his questions.

A few hours later, Sturm found himself standing in front of Thayan Ambassador Homen reporting his findings; blood was still fresh on Brightblade’s arms, hand and face.

“The spy claims to be sent by the Knights of Antiquity to observe Thayan movements and explore your involvements, Ambassador Homen.” As Sturm spoke, a tiny devil shifted in the darkness.

“What has he learned, trusted bondman?” Homen spoke with the cultured sophistication of a Thayan Noble. The devil’s ears twirled toward Sturm, its hands thrummed excitedly.

Tyrus found a supply of Obliviax, memory-moss, in Undermountain and how it was going to be used; the treachery of Ar-Kane the Wise; but nothing about your daughters- the twins or even Syllia’s child. He says his name is…” Sturm was saying more, but the tiny devil known as Imp Lord Pinprik had heard enough and was away in a whisper. 

On a balcony overlooking the canals of Skullport, Moala and Omerrta Abarbrent waited for their punishment to come from their father. Their mischief has finally cost years of subterfuge and resources as well as the lives of others. The lives mattered little to the human-tiefling sorcerer daughters of the Ambassador, but they had hoped to one day oversee the Thayan operations in Waterdeep.

As swift as quicksilver Lord Pinprik appeared up and over the balcony to address its mistresses, “My ladies,” Lord Pinprik bowed deeply, its devil’s tail lashed from side to side. “Tyrus will have to be more careful in the future,” Lord Pinpirk laughed manically. “But, no one yet knows of your divine connection with Gargauth.”  

At this, the manical laugh was shared by all. 

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