Poisoned

((Osilon, Karavoss))

Kalena doggedly chased the fleeing assassin along the side street onto a bustling main thoroughfare until he vanished out of her sight along the overhead rooftops. Threading her way through the shoals of people, she rushed up to the store beneath and used the ledge of a window to leap athletically into the air and catch hold of the eave at the front. One hand missed and she swung unsteadily before managing to get a solid grip and lever her body onto the sloping shingles above. Weakened from the poison, she forced herself into a run up the roof and spotted the thug's retreating figure making its way across the length of the long building that ran parallel to the main street.

At first she treaded silently after him, muffling her steps, but he turned to look back, somehow sensing her pursuit. The assassin stopped, loaded another poison dart into his blow pipe, and raised it to his lips. With her quarry in sight, she did not alter her course and instead determinedly poured on her speed to close the distance and take the man down hard and fast. She felt another sting as his dart hit her in the arm, and then she was upon him with a flying kick.

The tough, wiry fellow, however, dodged her attack and deftly countered with a kick of his own. Unlike the woman who had been more of a powerhouse brawler, this thug was evidently a finesse fighter much like her own self and his foot caught her solidly in the kidney. She saw the blow coming but the toxins flooding her system dulled her reflexes too much for her to evade or block it in time. Pain erupted through her side and she was knocked off her feet. He followed up the kick with another directed into her gut, sending her rolling across the roof, almost right off the edge.

“One dart should have dropped you dead, let alone two,” the man commented, frowning.

Deep brunette curls trailing across her face, Kalena endeavored to catch her breath and speak at the same time. “Just out of professional curiosity, what type of poison are in those darts of yours? Mithricide? Othurkas?”

“Sarnian Viper venom,” the assassin answered.

“Oh. Well, as it happens, one of those bit me once, and then died,” she said with a giddy smile, tremblingly regaining her footing.

“Funny,” he said, advancing on her. “I guess I'll just slit your throat then.”

Kalena's brain swam dizzily and gritting her teeth, she focused all her mental and physical concentration on dispatching this man, and fast, before her motor functions grew any worse. Light on his feet, the assassin leapt forward with some type of a nasty-looking knuckle blade, slashing it at her midsection. She sucked in her belly and the edge cut harmlessly across her blouse, taking off a pewter button. She grabbed the wrist of his knife arm and chopped her other hand into his throat. It was a well-placed blow but had little strength behind it. Still the strike momentarily stunned him into inaction, giving her a chance to drive her knee upwards into a sensitive area as hard as she could.

As he stumbled back in pain, Kalena drew her own fighting dagger from her belt, almost dropping it in the process. She was feeling very shaky and nauseous and close to losing consciousness. She steadied her tingling arm, willing it to act properly for just a few seconds, and then threw the blade in a spinning arc that ended deep in the meat of the assassin's thigh. It was not where she'd been aiming, but the unintended trajectory proved sufficiently decisive. He twisted and screamed out in agony and his leg abruptly buckled beneath him so that he toppled off the side of the roof and plummeted to the street two storeys below.

Kalena was not inclined to care if he broke his neck. She was more upset at losing the fine weapon he had taken along with him. The blade had been part of an exquisitely crafted twin set of fighting daggers she had owned for a few years, but the notion of trying to retrieve it didn't really appeal to her at the moment. She felt incredibly tired and knew she had to get away from here before she was arrested by the city watch for disturbing the peace, if not out-and-out murder. This wasn't Dalen of old; she was a nobody in Osilon, with no high-level connections, no influence.

Reaching the street level, Kalena started back toward where she had left Solandriel, but the cobblestones started undulating beneath her feet and she soon lost her way, her vision blurring, her stomach beginning to cramp. This wasn't good. She was no longer associated with a certain godlike entity and there was no guarantee she retained all the extraordinary benefits she had enjoyed in his employ. She leaned against a wall for support and took several deep breaths to keep herself from falling into the pit of blackness that seemed to be beckoning her.

All of a sudden a slim young man appeared quite out of nowhere and smacked into her shoulder, knocking the both of them to the ground together. Thinking she was being set upon by a third assassin or some common street hood, she instinctively reached for her dagger before remembering she no longer had it.

"I am so sorry!" the man said, picking himself up. "I was not watching-"

Kalena breathed a sigh of relief that it was no more than an unintentional accident. She was in no shape for a fight; she was not even sure how long she could remain conscious. She looked up at the man blearily and was about to tell him to watch where he was going next time, but her foggy brain could not make her mouth form the harsh, snapping words. She was in need of immediate medical attention. A dose of antivenom or a magical curative. Lafayette had some in his trunk if she had enough time to reach their house, although she doubted it.

"Are you okay?" the man asked, quickly glancing over his shoulder before reaching down a helping hand

Noticing his distracted air, but sensing his concern was more or less genuine, Kalena accepted the offered hand and used it to help her stand, slumping weakly against the wall. “I was bitten by a snake,” she said in a slurred voice. “A deadly Sarnian viper. One of those silver-backed kind...”

She briefly gazed past the man to see a patch of shadows nearby on the street seemingly coming alive. She blinked at the momentary distortion, imagining the poison was playing tricks with her sight and looked back again to Severos, favouring him with a faint, winning smile contrived to help elicit his assistance.

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