Chapter Two

The job was this: King Tabber wanted to make a deal with the leader of the Kah, a local bandit group that had been plaguing the roadways. He wished a note delivered to this very leader, none other than my good buddy William Du Fiend. We were to be led by Andrunor, a mysterious sorcerer from the nearby kingdom of Raife, whose capital was the great city of Belden. (Apparently, King Persalous of Belden was very interested in taking down this bandit group, one way or another). When Joshua offered me the job, I decided to take it, knowing that this was the best chance I had at vengeance. Thus, I journeyed with this party, who it turns out, recruited none other than the Champ himself, good old Phelps.

Being an inquisitive fellow, I naturally wanted to know what was on that note that Tabber so wanted Du Fiend to read. Knowing that both of them were filthy bastards, I knew it couldn’t be anything good. Thus, I snuck a peek at it, realizing that I was quite right. Tabber wanted Du Fiend to kill whoever gave him this note, and also had some plans for slaying the king of Belden. Scumbags all, just like most of the monkeymasters I’ve seen ruling kingdoms. Some of my companions didn’t like what I did, however. They respected these kings of theirs, and they wanted to tie me up and arrest me. That was their problem, not mine. They tried to knock me out, they tried to tie me up, but of course they failed. I escaped from their bonds and I escaped from their eyes, and I found my own way to Belden, intent on getting this job done one way or another. Before long I had spoken to King Persalous of Belden and learned the full extent of Du Fiend’s evil and treachery, and just how close he was to King Jacob Tabber. Persalous wanted Du Fiend, and he wanted him alive, preferably. He wanted us all to capture him. Thus, I joined up with those guys again; the champ, Andrunor, and the rest. We went southward to gather some ingredients for a potion needed to put Du Fiend to sleep. Though the others weren’t my best friends at the time, they had to tolerate my presence, and I theirs. At the swamps we were ambushed, attacked by a madman who watched over these herbs. Though I easily slew him, the danger was far from over. Phelps suspected a conspiracy. He thought the King’s alchemist was involved, and had given our names to this murderous madman. I disagreed, having no real proof of it, and not caring much either way. Phelps, however, was a charismatic man, despite his foolery. He led the others along with him, to slay this alchemist and confront the king about his “treachery”. When we arrived back in town, the Champ immediately ran to the alchemist and chopped off his head. Then, along with the others he decided to run off and present this head to the King. I decided to stay behind. I wanted nothing to do with open murder, nothing to do with killing the king’s friend, but the dead man’s shop had plenty to offer a young thug like myself; potions, herbs and plenty of gold. Thus I helped myself, knowing even then that it is the fool who commits the crime, but the wise man who takes advantage of that fool’s actions. Phelps, Andrunor and Joshua were immediately arrested, and spent the night in jail while I lounged at the city’s most luxurious inn. At the time, I had no idea what happened to them, and thus no reason to attempt any sort of rescue (not that I would have done it back then.) The next morning I was surprised to find that the whole town was under lockdown, looking for some escaped convicts. I soon found them: my would-be friends, trying to escape from town and from justice. I decided to help them, as they were at that point still my best shot at Du Fiend, and despite the fact that I was a cold-blooded assassin, I somewhat empathized with their bumbling behavior. We escaped from town the high-tech way: ropes and invisibility potions, then a jump into the moat (which I climbed). Before we left town, however, we were joined by two more wannabe heroes: the diminutive but noble Cebo, cleric of Yondalla, and the mad dwarf Garflin. Cebo decided to help out of compassion, Garflin out of a hatred for Du Fiend’s bandits. Either way, we were soon all out of Belden and off for the bandit camp, focused on our target. The way there wasn’t easy. The first night out, we were greeted by an assassin from Andrunor’s own guild, disowning him for his crimes. I killed him before he knew I saw him. At that point, the group realized that perhaps I wasn’t such a bastard, though I don’t think I was quite convinced of that yet. We went on, soon finding the entrance to the Kah’s headquarters. I scouted ahead, taking out all the outside guards, leading a few into ambushes by my party. We were able to use an ancient tactic to our success: stealing the enemy uniforms and then bluffing our way into their underground hideout. It was a short trip to Du Fiend’s personal room. There, the old man himself awaited. While I hid in the shadows, Joshua decided to speak with him, and for some reason also decided to give him the note. Immediately, the bastard attacked us. We fought, of course, myself as much as the others. After I injured him with a thrown dagger, he retreated, riding away on a dragon minion and crashing through his cliffside window for a quick escape route. Phelps followed, though without the wings. He fell three hundred feet down, landing with a splash in a nearby lake, saved as if by a miracle. I simply climbed down after him, while the others were left with a terrible dilemma, as Du Fiend’s bandit army was quickly marching into the room. Battle was clearly a bad idea. Andrunor, in a great panic, leapt for his doom, forgetting to call upon his sorcerous powers, or else finding that they had failed him in his time of need. He fell. To pieces. Literally. The only whole part left was his eye, an eye which we saved, hearing rumors that the dead could be raised from a single body part. Cebo made it out easy, his clerical powers preventing Du Fiend’s men from attacking, and Joshua miraculously managed to swallow a ring previously, which happened to let him magically float down the cliffside. Garflin leaped on his back, nearly killing them both, though not quite. After briefly mourning the death of Andrunor, we decided to get vengeance on him and follow our enemy. It was not a hard search. We found him at Belden, decimating the town with his green dragon minion. Du Fiend had taken the palace. His dragon was outside, spraying the townspeople with its acidic breath, while he was in the city, trying to steal some kind of artifact from the castle. (A staff for Tabber, I later learned.) As the whole town was in chaos, I, ever the scoundrel, decided to take advantage of it. I robbed a shop, scummy as that might be. It was Garflin’s shop, lying empty. There I retrieved a now pseudo-legendary blade: The Bleeding Blade, which now lies in a display case in one of Langston’s shops, waiting for some young hero to take it. The sword in hand, I snuck forward into the castle. The others took a slightly more straightforward path, but soon joined me. There, our heroic enemy was battling a virtual army of soldiers, slaying dozens by the minute. The king was hiding in the back of the room. I knew that at that time I couldn’t beat Du Fiend one on one. I was no warrior, after all, just a thief. While he was busy fighting the soldiers and my companions, I readied my crossbow, his words about honor ringing in my head. As he battled nobly and foolishly, yet for a wicked cause, I took aim. As the Champ was knocked to the ground, and it looked like Joshua was next, I fired. I hit him square in the head. He fell to the ground dead, where I used the Bleeding Blade to decapitate him. My enemy was beaten. My traitorous mentor was slain like the bastard he was. At that time, in that place, death was a very permanent thing. I never thought I would see him again, but as it turned out, I did. Yet at that point he was indeed a dead man. Taking his head for posterity, I spoke with the king. As the dragon was still on a rampage, we had to lead Persalous out of the castle, carrying the legendary staff that du Fiend had wanted so badly. We left, journeying out into the vast deserts west of Belden, where rumors said that an ancient wizard’s kingdom lay. The King led us to a ruined tower, going inside and uniting the staff with a gem piece that he had long ago buried there. Immediately, Persalous was surrounded in a bright light. He was transformed by the power of the artifact, transmogrified into some wizardly being of immense might and power. (At the time I knew little of his true identity). Soon, dragons began to appear; many dragons. Another wizard came onto the scene; an undead and sickly man: the lich Tabber, though at the time I knew little of his identity either. They battled. Tabber won, then disappeared in a flash of light. Persalous vanished into some strange dimension. It would be more than ten years before I would see him again, though at the time he seemed very dead. The magical staff was left behind; a staff that Cebo took. Back at Belden, the city was destroyed. Every citizen was dead: the buildings were in ruins. Nothing was left, except a great deal of money and an empty piece of land. The staff provided our fortune then. As Cebo placed it into the ground and said a prayer, a new city sprang up; new buildings entirely, a whole vista of opportunity. Having no heroics left to do and no enemies to crush, the lot of us decided to found a city. Andronia it was called, in honor of our dead friend. His eye became its symbol. Though Andronia would meet with just as untimely fate as its namesake, at that point it was hope. A new beginning, a new start. I had gone from being dirt-poor to being a Council Member within the course of a few weeks. What I was going to do with my new life, I had no idea.

Leave a Reply

Begin typing your search above and press return to search. Press Esc to cancel.