Like Distant Thunder

Helgragar's Log - Skies of Smoke

I spent the first few hours of our lock down in my room ensuring nothing out of the ordinary could be found. Cryado watched me hide much of it, however even he couldn’t locate everything. I was confident in my placement and began on creating some more mundane alchemical items to pass the time. It didn’t take long to be interrupted.

The captain and the first mate patted my Warforged and I down, finding nothing of interest, as is the case with most who investigate myself. I tolerated the touching simply because it wouldn’t be worth the effort to attempt and stay hidden on this vessel the rest of the voyage, although it would give me time to find out who the murderer was. The half-Orc tossed the room. I was completely unworried by a half-wit attempting to find contraband, however he then began sniffing – I’ve heard of the man-beasts who were able t tap into their mud-for-blood heritage more than others, but it startled me a moment. I believe the items I was working on may have masked enough of the scent to not allow the creature to find much. For the future, Cryado will be frequently bleaching my rooms for “sanitation” purposes to avoid any future awkward encounters such as this.

A commotion out in the hallway of the ship; Drawlight seemed to be stating the silver flame child had something to do with the poisoning. I trusted in the captain enough to see through the obvious misdirection – the young fool would most likely infect himself if he attempted to do anything subtle. The crew searched his cabin again, and again found nothing. The Dwarf-brained Human then started spouting off things he’d do if he were the poisoner. It was at this point I knew that the sole survival of the group protecting Frost rested entirely in my hands, and I went back to my concoction believing this mission would be easier knowing I shan’t rely on the others.

Not long after Kesean was brought away, much ado was raised and a general call to arms was sounded. Cryado led the way, and I knocked on the door to the Dwarf to hopefully rouse him from a most likely ale-fueled stupor. On the decks, near everyone was peering off the starboard edge, attempting to make out something in the distance. Fear washed their faces as wyvren, swooped in carrying unsuspecting crewmen over the side of the ship. Drawlight was dumbly charging one of the creatures, yet instead of hacking at the exposed tail, one of the obvious threats, he mounted the thing; I then noticed blood on the blade, and it certainly wasn’t reptilian.

I nodded to Cryado, and we set off to the first dragonkin, entering our traditional flanking tactic. The beast was made short work of, especially when Squall entered the fray. Once dropping it, I looked back and noticed the Dwarf was having a go at one all by his lonesome; I ordered Cryado to a different beast, leaving the half-man alone. It was this point that Squall did something so stupid, it made me almost joyous to have Cryado’s pseudo-intelligence as a companion – she jumped off of the ship, attempting to dislodge the wyvren from the deck. Cryado and I went to work, and prior to the things death, it snapped the rope holding the Warforged and flew off. Using every muscle in my body, I slowed the fall of the surprisingly light construct enough for my own to pull the metal body up. Squall was promptly informed that she would owe me for this.

Dabbing away a few beads of perspiration, I saw that the Dwarf, unfortunately, had not been ravaged by teeth and tail, and headed over patching up those simply injured. he then, after a discussion with the captain, began skinning the only slain wyvren on the deck – I’m fortunate to have milked an extract from the creature before the uncouth, lice-ridden Dwarf had infested the corpse with more parasites.

I sent Cryado to get some salve for my hands while I contemplated the recent events; Widdershins, a seemingly unimportant noble was assassinated for a reason I didn’t understand by a man who would do damn near anything for the money. Drawlight must also have a significant amount of backing and connections to allow 4 trained wyvren to attack the ship in tandem, and even be ridable. Also, this means we were either being followed, or he knew precisely how far the ship would have traveled before the mark’s body was discovered. This required planning and knowledge on a scale which is rarely done except for very high scale jobs. That, or there is an insider on the take.

The meeting with Squall went well. I learned of Merrix d’Cannith’s interest in the Lhazaar Principalities and the fact that not everyone from Frost’s expedition had perished in the raid as though – Thomas Morrowman, an apprentice to the mad doctor, had contacted the d’Cannith house with additional claims to the powder.

The remainder of the flight was significantly less bloody until Regalport came into view, as the ship cleared a acrid cloud of smoke. Using my spyglass, a siege of this magnitude shouldn’t have been possible looking at the tactics of the simpletons assaulting the city, but sieging they were. Weapons which created cacophonous roars each time they were used often sent stone and mortar fleeing in terror. It’s a rare thing to have a job go relatively smoothly, and I could see the task the Council sent me on this time would not be one of them. After a sigh of despair, I readied my items and told Cryado to take care of the professor. We were handed tokens to slow our fall, as The Azure Sky would not be getting closer than it already had, as, due to the half-man’s idea, she had taken a grievous hit to the hull. We disembarked, trusting in the wooden coins as the ground quickly rushed upon us. It has been quite some time since I had a thrill like this – enjoying the descent, I activated the token moments before the ground would have greeted me in a most unpleasant way.

Upon landing, we were greeted by soldiers who rushed off to retrieve their leader, a man known as Prince Rygar, a hulking brute with enough intelligence and cruelty to get others to follow him. He stated he had a job for us – survive one minute on the parapets and save as many of his injured men as possible; doing this would allow us to begin earning our keep in the city.

The fortifications reminded me of what I’d expect the Abyssal plane to look like – blood splattered and misted upon every surface, brick and stone crumbled and wishing to release itself from remaining a structure and fire, oh so much fire, blossoming upon every material which would provide it fuel. I felt a fear begin to grow inside me. It took a moment to steel myself for the task. We climbed the ladders, and the timer began.

Attempting to remain unseen, we began pushing bodies, most corpses, but some struggling for breath, over the wall to be reclaimed by their compatriots. Blazing rain, buckling walls and shrapnel of varying items assailed us every step until, in a way only barbarians can do, something other than alchemy was launched at us – a were tiger hit the ground, roaring in delight as its claws were extended. Cryado saw me go invisible and knew he needed to get the beast’s attention for a few seconds while I prepared, however the brutality of the lycan was simply too much, and my servant buckled. Squall took the beasts attention next, but did not fare much better, so the Dwarf stepped up and the two creatures attempted to see which one of them was louder. It was enough time, as I was able to find the vital spots of the creature, carving each one up to free as much of its blood as I could. I could also see that my tools were having effect weakening the brute further until finally, it slumped to the ground, no longer moving.

I felt a pair of eyes on me and I turned to see Rygar; arms crossed, watching, as if he was sizing up a dog before a fight. I do not appreciate being made a tool by filth so I met is gaze and held it, while more cracks of thunder sent debris flying and stinging my face, however I did not blink; I did not waiver. I will not allow this prince to begin to think of me as a pawn.

As the time expired, I kicked over Squalls metal body while Ulbright and Kesean did the same for Cryado. Shortly after hitting the ground, Squall’s body changed into that of a Changeling. This only brought more questions when I had thought I was finally learning some answers.

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TheAlmightyBear JDnD

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