Breaking And Entering pt2

(JP LSP, Thaen, and Ender)

“I was coming back from prayer when a group of crazed killers breached the Grand Temple's interior,” The Magistrate explained agitatedly. “None will be safe!”

“Well, best we keep quiet and keep our heads down then, right?” Reise said.

The man looked worried. “Who… who are you? You're not with them, are you?”

Reise pressed his hands on the sides of the man’s face, nearly squishing his lips to look like a fish. “No, I’m the man who’s going to save your life, padre,” he spoke with intensity. “Now go hide under your desk and don’t come out 'til I tell you it's safe.”

“That doesn’t explain who you are,” the Magistrate said.

“They could be breaking down this door at any moment and you're worrying who I am? GO!” Reise whispered. The important man stared him down, but begrudgingly conceded and ran to the desk, sitting and pulling the chair as far in as he could to make it look as natural as possible.

“I can’t believe that worked,” Reise thought aloud, not having to use his special parchment.

After a few more moments the hall became eerily quiet. Reise slowly opened the door to see several guards fanned out at the ready about six meters away in a defensive formation. Their backs to him and their eyes on the doors to protect the Magistrate.

“This is gonna be bad,” Reise mumbled, hoping Severos was almost finished so they could make a fast escape. It looked like agents of the Nameless had caught up with them once again.

Inside the vaults, a ghostly tugging of spellcraft led Severos to a drawer where the file likely was being kept. He pulled it open and started rifling through the slave registrations. Thousands had been catalogued over the past few days, but he narrowed his search to female slaves who had been bought by a woman, knowing Orla was said to have been purchased by a sorceress. That helped narrow things down a little but it was still a slog until a file caught his attention. The word "Dalen" was mentioned as the place of purchase.

“Sold by Sylla the Slaver, Dalen; half-elf female to one Lucretia Dais of Ohamet, for the sum of five hundred gold pieces,” Severos read aloud from the bill of sale. He frowned. Ohamet? That was a whole other city. He then closely examined the registration form and continued to read aloud. “The slave is an unknown type of elf of the following description, to wit: petite, estimated about fifty years old of a very fair complexion, with blonde hair and blue eyes.”

It sounded like it could be Orla, but he paged through the file to make extra certain. He saw the slave girl had just been appraised at a value of one thousand four hundred. That was a lot even for a girl as pretty as Orla, he thought – just as strong hands gripped him from behind.

Severos turned to see an animated stone gargoyle come to life. He cursed himself for being so careless even as its clawed fingers wrapped around his throat and started to squeeze with force. The papers drifted down as he grasped at the air, trying to work loose his wand.

Outside Reise braced himself as the doors crashed open and two fast forms burst in with speed and power. The first one was a huge werebear the likes of which he had not encountered since the War of the Two Kingdoms. The other was nearly as big and came flying over everyone's heads. Reise identified it as a bird-like Kenku of some variety he was not familiar. The temple guards engaged the creatures, their scimitars flashing.

Reise sighed. “We just need a bit more time,” he thought, through the crack in the door he watched another man enter. Nearly as much of a wall of meat as the werebear, an Orc, Western Tribe by his guess, just judging on sheer size. They grew up big on the Sarnian plains. “...could this get any worse…?” he mumbled, seeing the beast sniffing the air, before Reise could close the door again the Orc's eyes snapped over to the crack.

Snarling and showing his tusked mawl he let out a primal shout. Sprinting for the door. Reise assumed he’d have enough time to shut the door and bar it. But miscalculated, before he could place a chair to barricade the door for even a moment longer the man had reached the other side. Slamming the door, showering Reise in its splintered remains.

Standing in the breach where the door once was, the orc called Vaggs stood, body heaving with heavy breaths, eyes red with rage, nostrils flaring. “You killed my brother!” he shouted between breaths. In a snap reaction Reise reached into this robe, attempting a quick draw of the same device that killed this orc's brother. But the Orc grabbed Reise by the forearm. “Shit…” Reise said the rare curse slipped past his lips.

The Orc let out a laugh, “You are lucky.” he lifted Reise off his feet. “I have to bring you in alive...but he said nothing about not broken.” he smiled a toothy grin, punching Reise squarely in the chest before tossing the limp body into the hall. Though Reise was nearly out of it he felt something on his wrist snap, as he left the Orcs grip, and slammed into the floor.

Flat on his back, he looked up to see the remains of a chain dangling out of the Orc’s hand who looked at it curiously, then back to Reise, noting its significance to him. First crushing it in his massive hand, then letting it fall to the floor to be stepped on for good measure. Something else snapped in Reise. His pupils became pinpoints. Vaggs laughed again. “Good, there’s the look of someone who could kill my brother. Go on get up,” he taunted.

Reise rolled to his side, pushing himself up enough to stand. “If you’re as easy to kill as your brother I shouldn’t even break a sweat…”

“What was that?” Vaggs snarled.

“Your brother died like a chump, like a comedy bit. Almost as funny as slamming your boss's face into his desk. Funniest part is, if he’d only listened to me he’d be alive,” Reise said.

“You’re dead.” The Orc screamed and charged, only to slam into the wall behind Reise, the man no longer there.

“Slow, just like your brother.”

“Big talk from a little man.” A gravelly voice said from behind Reise, accompanied by an agreeing avian-like laugh, Reise not realizing he was flanked by two more bounty hunters. “Speaking of dying, your two lady friends on the street who you shouldn’t have left unprotected. They died painlessly. Not like the way you’re going to.”

“What did you just say?” Reise asked, eyes filled with rage and shock.

“You heard him,” the avian man squawked, moving a finger across his feathered neck. “Got them both in one swing.” He laughed at the look of bottomless pain the news elicited.

Reise felt something in him finally break. His knees bent slightly as if he were going to collapse, as cracks formed across his skin. They quickly spread across his body before eventually crumbling away like dust. Leaving a new man with blue eyes and black hair standing in his place. Even with no magic to speak of, the man's intensity could be felt all around the room.

“Just because you change how you look doesn’t mean you can scar....” The werebear began to speak, when Horo vanished, two afterimages of the man flickered in opposite directions, leaving a singed mark on the floor. Before the werebear knew what had hit him, Horo removed the dagger from the man’s throat, spraying the avian-man in a showering spray of gore. As the werebear man slapped a hand over the wound that his innate ability did not seem to heal, he stumbled back teetering on his feet as he began to lose too much blood.

The Avian man squawked in terror as he whipped around to try to engage the black haired man. Only to be met but a cold metal cylinder placed against his forehead. The last thing the Kenku saw was the cold pinpoint pupils of the man called Horo. And with a pull of the device's trigger and a burst of light nothing above the neck remained of the Kenku.

Behind him Horo heard the werebear fall to the floor with a thud a few seconds later. “Don’t worry,” Horo said, “You’ll lose consciousness before you die.” he said looking over the man.

“All the glory for me!” The orc shouted letting out a shout of berserker rage. “I changed my mind! I’m not taking you back alive!”

Charging at Horo the moment before he reached him Horo vanished. Teleporting again, it wasn’t until after he appeared behind the Orc that he realized the black haired man had managed to cut him. The Orc turned to face him and charged again. Receiving the same result. Matador versus bull. Death by one thousand cuts. The Orc’s rage began to wear out, as his body was soon riddled with cuts. Collapsing to the floor, still alive and breathing. Horo walked over and rolled him on his back. Looking him in the eyes with a cold furious stare.

“You..kil..” the orc struggled to breath, “Killed my brother...” he groaned out.

“And you killed someone I care about deeply,” Horo said, sinking the dagger deep into the orc’s chest, rocking it left and right slightly before the Orc’s breathing stopped and the light left his eyes.

Horo looked around the grand hall outside the Magistrate’s office, seeing the three bodies he’d caused and the spread of dead guards. He stood, sheathing his knife and going to scoop up the broken chain and lockets. He immediately remembered his wizard friend, rushing towards the sounds of a struggle.

The gargoyle continued to squeeze, Severos feeling his windpipe crushing beneath the carved, animated stone. Spots appeared across his vision as he felt his wand slip into his fingers. He tried to find the words to spellweave and yet could not. With a fear for his life, he lashed out with magic.

Such formless magic was dangerous to any caster for it relied on the primal instincts, emotions, and how focused the caster was on their wants. Many in history debated if this was one of the reasons the Mage War had been waged. Severos did not know, for he was preoccupied with trying to survive. And so, his spell came forward in a rush of power.

The hawthorn wand stabbed into the neck of the gargoyle. There was a flash of white light and the pressure was gone. Severos collapsed with several throat-rattling coughs before looking to his assailant. It writhed on the ground, stone turned to flesh and dripping off as if it were melting. As quickly as he had done all of this, the gargoyle ceased to be and collapsed fully into a puddle of flesh that stank with an unknown yet vulgar smell. Severos picked himself up shakily, just as he heard footsteps come up. He raised his slightly reddened eyes to see...

“Good you found it. Let’s go.” Horo said.

“What…” Severos began, looking at Horo. “Reise?”

Horo grabbed Severos and walked to a door across the hall. Going through and taking them back to the alley they left Orla and Ola. Finding Ola’s bottle abandoned next to a stack of crates, laying on it’s side. Horo silently picked it up.

“Where are they?” Severos coughed, raspy voice pained.

Horo answered with silence, putting the bottle in his bag.

"What happened?" The mage asked. "Hey," went Aven as Horo began to stride away. "Hey!" Severos went with more force. He grabbed Horo and was surprised when Horo whipped back around and slammed him into the alley wall.

"They are gone, killed they said," came the smoldering answer.

"Horo, stop it and think," Severos said, feeling an edge slip into his voice. "If that were the case, then where is the blood? Have you bothered to search?"

At that, Horo released him. He looked ponderingly at him as Severos drew in a few breaths. "Orla is fae, a kind that is rare and unknown in these lands. Whoever wanted her dead or sold wants to do so to keep us going in loops. And fae do not pass from the light to the shadow so easily. Besides, did you truly forget what we were to do? I have the information."

"And those two?" The Wandering Dog asked.

"We will find them, I promise," Severos said, clearing phlegm. "For now, let us find her true self. Then we can find the simulacrum, okay?"

Horo was silent. Eventually, he nodded. "I will hold you to this, Severos." With that, he turned and began walking. With not much else to say, the mage followed.

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