Marching double time down the castle corridor Madeiron Sunderstone once again responded to the castle chimes. Peals of sound that usually meant dragons or their workings have been sighted somewhere in the city. It meant him as well as any on duty guards and gunslingers are to report to the First Knight.
Maderion was not awakened by the night terrors as what usually precedes the chimes in the past week. Instead this particular tone of alarm indicated an internal danger to Castle Waterdeep. Although Madeiron was faring better than most sleep deprived servicemen, the constant vigilance he must be in was wearing on his mind.
Entering Piergeiron’s war-room Madeiron saw Armult Tesper barking instructions to several castle guards and gunslingers. Bright magical lights revealed that the tabletop-model of Waterdeep was gone; instead floor plans of the Castle were spread across the main table and to Madeiron’s surprise- Sai Tesper was dispatching Knights to the castle Vaults.
“Sai Sunderstone, glad you could join us.” First Knight Tesper said, condescension clear in is voice. “For those of you who are now joining us… in short, the castle us under siege by several groups of thieves; I have already sent men to secure the Vaults and now need the rest of you to search and secure every room, closet, and privy for any rouges, and chance hidden cashes of stolen goods. It is assumed their target is the Vaults so I am moving command there.”
One by one Sai Tesper grouped gunslingers and swordsmen separately giving them details on how he wanted a sweep of each level of the castle, pinching trespassers into key corner rooms where there is no escape. Madeiron voiced his objection of this tactic garnering silence from room, citing the predictability of guard movement and the overall weakness of the plan.
To which Sai Tesper responded: “Your demotion means that you now follow orders Sai Sunderstone and if you undermine me again you will find yourself in the city as a watchmen guarding lamplighters and dungsweepers!”
Watching the exchange from the hall, LeCarre waited for Madeiron to pass and dexterously fell into step with the huge man. “I agree with your assessment.” LeCarre said sympathetically to his old friend as they reached the ‘Colonnade’, a grand hall where the main staircase was located. Several Knights broke off at this juncture, some ascending to upper levels and others going down.
LeCarre stopped, “You and I have to do something or you know these thieves or whoever is as good as gone. To Hell with Armult’s plan and let us hunt them down…. It will be like old times.” LeCarre said invitingly holding his hand out revealing his signature magical lenses. Maderion did not argue.
Armult Tesper was lost; lost in the very castle he trained in and lived in for the past forty years. The lack of long-term rest was now taking a serious toll on his sensibilities; he now cannot even discern friend from foe.
Armult had no idea where his guards were or how he got separated from them. Looking around he was sure this was still Castle Waterdeep, but it was strange… alien.... nightmarish. Noblemen moved and gestured in their frames on the walls while tapestries and furniture danced joyfully in place. Composing himself amongst his funhouse surroundings Sai Tesper marched militantly off to find his guards.
LeCarre and Sai Sunderstone went directly to the kitchens and immediately identified the thieves’ means of entrance. By accessing the kitchens through a hatch that was used to dispose vegetable matter below for stable animals; the intruders then used the dumbwaiter in the butler’s pantry to lose themselves.
LeCarre looked around with his lenses and quickly ascertained the level where the dumbwaiter stopped allowing riders off, but before they did Maderion received word from a guard that another thief entrance was discovered… he lamented, there were more rogues than originally believed.
Armult was rocked head first to the ground as the whole castle shook with a single colossal jolt. All around him furniture ceased their dance; wall hangings broke apart in splintered pieces, as doors escaped their captive hinges. As disorientation melded into mild comprehension the First Knight focused upon a single figure, a nobleman standing over him. Surely the nobleman from the wall frames; although the man had a companionable disposition, Armult felt an aura of darkness and Sin about the man.
“Sai Gunslinger!” the nobleman said helping Armult to his feet. “There now, you look ok… I was hoping you could direct me… you see I have become lost in this beautiful castle…” The man said with a smile. Armult’s only response was a stupid expression of gratitude.
They were on the trail of two women, Maderion was certain even though they wore masks- they were women. Other trespassers were about say true, but LeCarre himself discerned there were only three mayhap four bands of miscreants about each with two or three thieves among them. This particular duo they were tracking were cunning but both thief hunters were experienced and knew the strengths and virtues of each other.
After the trail dead-ended twice and after the two investigators picked up on yet a third track LeCarre commented admirably on their cunning. It reminded him of thieves he had tracked before…
To the east sounds of fighting broke LeCarre from his meticulous investigations whereby he immediately drew weapon, motioned to his partner, and stealthily advanced in the direction of the gunshots.
Maderion checked to make sure his sword was free then turned to follow LeCarre, but stopped short when a white, graceful woman caught his attention. He was immediately enchanted and thought her faerie-tale beauty should be sung from from this day forward by all bards from now on. In his heart Maderion immediately knew that he wanted to kiss this woman- no needed to kiss this woman.
With all urgency forgotten Maderion approached the woman where he discovered that even the perfume surrounding her had its own primal effect on him. As the eight-foot tall, former First Knight, bent and kneeled before the woman he thought to himself, he would do anything for just one kiss from her… one kiss from this beauty incarnate.
Now almost eye to eye the woman, without as much as a word the woman embraced Maderion in a deep soul kiss that to him ended every other kiss before this. As far as Maderion was concerned there was no other kiss than from this lady. Need and pleasure sated, he escorted her to her own kiss she bid from him.
Armult hoped that by escorting the lost nobleman he would also find his personal retinue of Firelance Knights, but his hopes failed him because not only had Sai Tesper not found his guard, but he now suddenly realized with grim horror that he had led this lost man straight to the castle Vault!
“I am terribly sorry Sai, I believe that if we back track we- agggh…” Armult’s apology was ceased when the nobleman suddenly produced a blade and sliced a neat line across the First Knight’s neck.