Meeting Shade

A JP by Tahjerius, Rosmary, LSP, and Ender

((Kalena's and Lafayette's Osilon Home, Karavoss))

The chaos at the warehouse had subsided, leaving the heroes to take refuge at Kalena's home. Everything inside was the same, or almost the same. There seemed to be less lightning in the house, and a small black vapor leaked through one of the doors. The house wasn't eerily cool, but it was cooler than expected.
Epically around the closed door, hinting at the house's unexpected guest.

Lafayette’s attention was on the door. But he laid the red headed woman on their sofa, and Shel unceremoniously put the dwarven woman on the sweat stained table made bed from earlier today. Before helping Kalena into a chair still only semi-conscious from the sleeping draught she had been given. Lafayette made eye contact with Shel and pointed to the closed door, giving her a motion with his head to signify they should check it out. Lafayette grabbed a crossbow they kept for wolves, loading and cocking and then they opened the door slowly, each standing to one side to grab a person if they ran out.

What greeted them instead wasn't exactly a person, more so a kind of living shadow. Shade politely sat in a lone chair, his arms crossed his chest. A strange book and crystal lay on the floor, "Hi." He spoke in a casual tone.

Lafayette let out a sigh. “Merde. What now…” he thought. He didn’t aim the crossbow at the intruder, but kept it ready for all the zero good it’d likely do against a shadow, “Who are you and what do you want?” he asked in an equally casual tone.

"I usually go by Shade, but my real name is Jace. I want to make an agreement with you. It's kinda my fault that the psychopath at the warehouse got to that dwarf. I worked with the wrong people. I want to help fix that, but in return I need your help, information, not killing anyone, or kidnapping anyone, simple good old info." He lifted his hands and wiggled his fingers, "See, no tricks."

“Wizards can still be tricky even if they play like they aren't,” Shel said. “Why would you saying ‘no tricks’ make us trust you?” she asked.

Lafayette agreed “You broke into our home. To tell us ‘you’ are the reason we nearly died tonight. All to get ‘information’ from us? What information could you possibly want from us?”

"Who's the scummest person you know and where can I find them? That's all." He looked over and noticed Kalena and Gerda. "No doubt about it. Kalena somehow is alive after one hundred and twelve years. Now for that dwarf, I might know someone who can help her, but he isn't exactly in this world per say. He will be in the Endless Dark, and well. That’s a whole another trip. However, that's your decision." He got up from his seat, "As for the 'tricks', I'm trying to get rid of them. I want to be alive again, I might not look like it, but being dead and a living shadow is torment."

“Forgive us if we don’t believe you,” Shel said, “My friends were just attacked by a man made of insects, and a man-bull as big as myself, and you’re telling us you caused that...”

“What’s to say you aren’t trying to clean up loose ends and kill us since that plan failed?” Lafayette finished Shel’s thought. “I don’t know if you’ve noticed but we have two people who are out cold, one with a broken arm, Her hands are burned, and I have a ringing in my ear and a pounding migraine. We’re in no shape to galavant off again on some mission to frankly one of the most ominously named places I think I’ve ever heard. Sounds like a recipe for a quick path to the grave,” Lafayette said.

Shade gave a small nod, "One, I worked more for hire, so I have no real connections to bug face or bull guy. Two, I never said you had to go or go at this very moment. Three, your bodies would be left here, in the living world. Meaning you'll need a guard. Knowing you, especially Kalena over there, you won't trust me."

He checked the wounded for a quick moment, "I used to work with Draken when he was a criminal, Kalena here, I knew. Of course this was while she hounded after myself and my companion with a nightmare of a man beside her. She will tell you not to trust me, which I don't blame you for listening to her. That is why it's all of your decisions on what to do. I'm not forcing anyone's hand, not my style. What I want is to aid all of you, if I'm going to come back, I don’t want to die right after because I screwed someone over while I'm dead. Make sense?"

"-So, Kalena's going to be fine, and we're still trying to-what the hell is that?"

V stood dumbfounded, standing just at the front of the doorway and peering in. Inside he saw the room afflicted with shadow, and the blackened vapor demon responsible.

"He calls himself Shade. Apparently, he needs help from us, and he says he was responsible for that little fiasco at the warehouse."

V proceeded to grip the handle of his scimitar, taking a cautious step forward and eying the living mass of shadow.

"Well, we're already off to a bad start, then."

"San blague," Lafayette concurred.

"Listen, I understand, especially after what you've just been through, that trusting a mysterious shadow man is not something you're excited to do. The simple fact of the matter is, I happen to know what you want, and it aligns with what I want. That comatose dwarf in there isn't just taking a long nap, her soul has been snatched from her body and held prisoner, in the Endless Dark."

Shade pointed at the elf, "And I can help you get in, there is a guardian and without me, you'll join her in the Darkness. Look, what I want is a new body so I can live again, in return I help you save the dwarf. Once that's over, you'll probably never see me again. That's my proposal."

V let out a sigh, before giving Lafayette and Shel a look, "What do you guy's think?"

“I think you’d be a daft idiot to do what this thing’s asking us to do.” Lafayette said, “Who is going to stay and keep an eye on everyone? Why would we let our own souls leave our bodies to go to some dark place, leaving our bodies with something that just claimed to want a body?” he added. “I think it’s a bad idea.”

"I can hear you, and it doesn't work like that for the body soul thing, you want to read the spell I'm using you can. Two, not all of you have to go in, have someone keep watch of your bodies. If I wanted to steal your bodies or kill you, why the hell would I introduce myself, and wait here, in the open room, when I could have hidden inside the shadows instead for a tactical advantage. What else do you want, a how to- book to kill me?"
He sighed, " You are right, red head, this is a bad idea, cause there is a good chance I'm going to be eaten and spat out back here. However, how else are you going to save the dwarf? Hope her soul comes back, news flash, it won't, and then she might end up like me. Sure that's a few years from now, but still."

“To your first point...wasn’t whispering. My house, I can be rude if I please. Second point. I’m not a mage so I wouldn't understand even if I did read it. Thirdly, if you could kill us so easily, why would hiding matter? Fourthly, why is it you think I care enough about the dwarf to go on some spirit quest?” Lafayette shrugged, “You are putting a lot of stock in a group of strangers and someone you met years ago.”

Before Lafayette could continue a panic scream came from the other room. A woman’s voice followed by the sound of Prespa’s trying to calm her down. “You are safe, please be calm.” she told the woman. Who had finally woken up. The redhead they’d saved from the warehouse.

"That's fair, but if you want to know who's behind this, we have two enemies. The one behind their kidnapping was a mage who calls himself Ponce. He had me steal the Mortith for him. As for the other guy, a bug mage I think works for some outside force. Those two aren't allies. Ponce works for chaos, while what's his face works for order, however not the good kind of either. I think we actually should just talk. You might need a light if you feel so threatened by me."

"Alright, enough, I've heard enough." V finally said, placing a hand on Lafayette's shoulder.

"You may not care about the dwarf, but I know Solandriel does. The right thing to do would be to help her, but if you want to walk away, fine. All I know is that I joined this op to save that woman, and bringing her back lifeless and brain dead just doesn't sit right with me," The elf looked the redhead in the eyes, his tone uncharacteristically serious. As Lafayette prepared to protest, V continued, "But, I'm tired, I know you're probably tired, everyone is exhausted and somewhat singed. We should leave this for the morning. Or later… I guess. Sometime in the future,"

V turned to Shade once more, "This whole shadow realm business, it isn't that pressing, is it? We have time to delegate?"

Shade looked at the dwarf, "A month before her soul gets lost, a year until she is too far to save. That's the time limit. That is if nothing has eaten, absorbed, imprisoned, or destroyed her soul in the meantime. If she's nearby, especially around Drakor, she will be fine. The reptile is crude, but at least he acts as a good caretaker of souls." He sat back down in the chair. "If you go into the Dark, there are rules to follow, to make sure you make it back safely."

V stared blankly at the shadow demon, before nodding as he finally finished, "Alrighty then, let's review them… in the morning." before reaching forward and closing the door to the room, unceremoniously ending their conversation.

"I haven't tranced in days and I'm beyond mentally exhausted. So I'm going to go do that, I'll go ahead and look over you all while you sleep."

He turned away, making his way to a spot in the living area where everyone else was, in which he sat cross-legged.

"And yes, I know how that sounded. I promise you, I don't care."

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