The Fractured Mountains – Ch. 9

Dreekt and Gaemacirch went to meet with the captain of the guard. The captain wasn’t at the guardpost, however. They asked a couple of the guards where he might be and finally one of the guards directed them to the northern wall.

“Hello newcomers. Here to volunteer on the wall tonight?” The guard captain moved to the ladder next to the gate and slid down. “I’ll be glad to have your help, and some in the guard will be glad to have you in sight.” He smiled broadly to show that he wasn’t one of them. “I assume Samuel sent you to get free rooms?”

“We intended to offer help before that. The southern gate guards mentioned night raids by creatures from Dark Under. When should we report for duty?” Gaemacirch spoke for the both of them. “We’ve been traveling all day and have some need of rest first, if we can have it.”

“Yes, go sleep in the guardhouse for a few hours. One of the men will wake you for the night watch then.” The captain shook their hands and climbed back up to the top of the wall. “Oh, and if you’re hungry there’s a stocked pantry too.”

– – –

A few hours later a guard woke up both Dreekt and Gaemacirch who felt well rested even after such a short sleep. “Time for the night watch. If either of you knows magic talk to the mage at the south-east watchtower. That’s the best place to cast from, and he has a list of specific effects you should avoid.” The man paused for a moment, a worried look on his face. “For the safety of the town of course.” It was clear that he had a fear of magic.

Dreekt nodded. “I’ll head to the tower then.” Dreekt glanced over at Gaemacirch who looked annoyed. “What’s wrong?”

“I don’t think it’s a good idea to separate. Seeing how we’re both dark races.” He practically spit out the phrase. “Unless you feel more safe with us apart.” He didn’t break eye contact with the soldier, misinterpreting the worried look on the soldier’s face.

“Uhh, I don’t care. You should forgive those that do right now. We are getting attacked from where your races began. Even if you’ve never been there in your whole lives. I never would’ve thought you were evil or anything like that.” The man babbled on for a moment longer until he realized that Gaemacirch and Dreekt were already gone.

– – –

Adalet snuck out of the Blue Flagon. She was careful to not let the barkeep see her on the way out. She made her way to the mayoral building, shifting from shadow to shadow.

Outside the mayoral building were two guards. They were alert, but their attention was on the skies. They were watching for attacks from flying creatures from Dark Under, not keeping watch at the door like they were supposed to. Not that it mattered to The Vengeance. Being a goddess she could just pop right inside the building. That wouldn’t be fun, though. She wanted to try to sneak by the men the mundane way.

Sneaking up to the men was the easy part. Adalet stood next to the door to the building already. The hard part would be opening the door without them noticing. In fact, there was no way to open the door without them noticing. Sighing quietly in annoyance Adalet decided to pop into the building using a teleportation spell. In an instant she was on the other side of the door.

Swiftly and quietly The Justice made her way to the mayor’s office. There, hanging on the back wall, was Grigori Petrovich’s quarterstaff. She had no idea how he had gotten it enchanted so quickly after magic had been released into the world, but he had.

Reaching out with a steady hand Adalet pulled the quarterstaff from the wall and immediately a magical alarm started to go off. She tried to teleport out of the room, but something blocked her.

Thoughts on how to escape ran through Adalet’s mind until she remembered that even if she was caught they couldn’t kill her. Smiling to herself she clutched the quarterstaff to her body and ran out the front door of the building. The two guards were surprised that the thief would come out the front and she dealt with them swiftly.

Adalet paused on her escape route for a second as she saw a shrine to The Justice in the village square. She jogged over to it and blessed it. Taking the quarterstaff was vengeance for Grigori Petrovich’s murder of her parents, but she had no reason to hate the town. As she turned to continue her escape she didn’t notice that two familiar figures were now chasing her down.

– – –

A loud magical alarm woke Burner up. She shot bolt upright and grabbed the dagger next to her bed. Looking around the room she realized that Adalet was gone. “Shast, she probably went after that quarterstaff.” Burner dressed quickly, making sure that her waxen skin was covered and pulled her cowl up over her head. Armed and dressed she made her way out of the inn, going up one flight of stairs to the ground level.

– – –

Dreekt and Gaemacirch were walking up to the door of the mage’s tower when an alarm went off from the center of town.

“You go inside. I’ll see what’s up with that alarm.” Gaemacirch nudged Dreekt forward and turned towards the alarm, running to catch up to a guard heading that way. “Hey, what’s that alarm mean?”

“Someone’s broken into the mayor’s office, but that’s the least of our problems. That alarm is going to draw in more Dark Under creatures. I need to go disable it. You keep an eye out for anything suspicious.” He handed Gaemacirch a small badge. “Pin that to your shirt, they’ll know you’re with the watch.”

Gaemacirch took the badge and bent the back so it clipped to his armor. “Ok.”

The guard doubled his pace as Gaemacirch looked around for anyone acting suspicious. He spotted Adalet running through the streets holding a quarterstaff, and Burner following behind. He intercepted Burner. “Hey, what’s going on?”

Burner glanced at Gaemacirch and continued running after Adalet. “She took something from the mayor’s office. We need to get it back.”

– – –

“Adalet, stop. I don’t want to hurt you.” Burner stood ten feet from Adalet who had stopped running just outside town. “Give back the quarterstaff and we’ll let you leave.”

A smile came to Adalet’s lips as she turned to face Burner and Gaemeacirch. “You can’t stop my vengeance. You won’t be the first to try.”

Burner hummed a short tune and a wave of sound rumbled around and shot at Adalet.

Still smiling Adalet stood her ground as the sound wave passed through her without harm. “My turn.” A bolt of lightning shot out from the quarterstaff as she pointed it at Burner. The bolt hit Burner in the chest and she fell to one knee. Adalet turned back around and started to walk away. “It’s no use. Don’t try it Gaem.”

Bristling with fury Gaemacirch through a kunai at Adalet. He had meant the blade to hit with the flat against her head to knock her out, instead it severed her brainstem at the base of her skull. “Oh, that’s not what I meant to do.” The fury had drained from Gaemacirch’s body. “I guess we need to get that quarterstaff back and deal with her body.”

“Yeah,” Burner stood back up, “she was holding out on us. That packed a punch.” She walked over to Adalet’s corpse and took the quarterstaff from her grip. A piece of parchment dropped from Adalet’s hand as the quarterstaff left it. “What’s that?”

Gaemacirch reached down and unfolded the parchment. “It says that the man we’re looking for is named Magnus, and he isn’t evil.” He stuck the parchment under his armor. “I’m too in shock to register what that means.”

It means she knew him the whole time, and I’m just as surprised as you.” Burner said. “I didn’t think they were both selfish pricks. Oh well, come on Gaem. We need to find this Magnus fellow.” Burner looked up suddenly. “Odd, I could’ve sworn I saw…nevermind. Let’s drag her to the side of the road and cover her. We need to go back.”

– – –

A few minutes later the path to Dregton was clear and quiet. Nothing in the forest stirred. Adalet’s body disappeared from under the pile of rocks Burner and Gaemacirch had hastily covered her with. A puff of smoke poured out from between the rocks and coalesced back into Adalet. She stood shivering next to the rocks, naked. She quickly moved the rocks off her clothes and put them on. Her coin was gone, but her bow and arrows were lying nearby. “So, they left me something. My vengeance is complete. Once the Dark Under creatures arrive maybe those three can save the town, maybe not. I have a date to keep.” Adalet teleported away. A few moments later the path to Dregton was filled with skittering creepers, and the sky was full of noxious flyers heading for the town.

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