Scales Of War

The Chronicles of Kustaa, 002

Murder in the Dark

Traveling from the Feywild always left Kustaa with slight nausea, something about the auras the portals exuded was disorienting. Perhaps it was simply leaving his home world that was the cause. Noticing his masters discomfort, Quidnunc reminded the mage of the ginger root he always carried in his bandolier for such instances. Third pouch from the top, left side, next to the packet of caravan tea. The uneventful and bumpy carriage ride was of no help either, but Elder Cadrick, councilman of Overlook, insisted their hero should be escorted in such a manner. Hero. Not exactly the most comforting title for one so socially awkward. Kustaa didn’t care for the attention, he was merely did what he felt was right at the right place and the right time. “Worse titles have been given, I suppose,” he muttered to the sun-drenched curtains. “Worse fates have befallen,” was what he thought to himself.

The city was still in disrepair, the aftermath of the siege still visible, although improvements were being made. It seemed only yesterday, it also seemed years ago. Time is a tricky thing when you cross over world borders. Word was sent ahead weeks ago of his return and interest in continuing to assist the fallen city. Arrangements were made for a small home in the affluent High Hall district and appointments were already scheduled. Some applicants may be too young, others too old, but he feared most would probably just want to meet a “hero” and brag about it around the pub. There was a priest on the list that seemed hopeful. An acquaintance, Odin Stonesunder, gave a solid reference that he would be a good choice. Even Elder Cadrick mentioned there was someone he would like Kustaa to meet, a comrade of his paladin friend, Sergeant Kalad. His first meeting was with an arcane researcher, a Mister Sontion, interested in Kustaa’s opinions from the Shadowfell, something about anomalies in teleportation within that realm. How could an eladrin resist such a conversation?

The scheduled visit, just after sunset, was a bit odd. Later than Kustaa would have liked to receive a guest, but he understood a busy schedule. He was also eager to speak of arcane lore and his people’s abilities to warp space and leap distances. But not so much the Shadowfell, that bleak mirror opposite realm of his home plane. The brief time spent there was enough to last him quite awhile. Quidnunc quickly stirred and hovered over to the window as the faint knocking was heard at the door. “Curious to hear no footfall from the garden path,” Kustaa mused. “Even more so to see a heavily cloaked figure on such a mild night”, he imp remarked. “Too slight to be a dwarf, perhaps a halfing? Strange… the garden lantern must have gone out,” he added. A chill went down the mage’s spine as he grabbed his staff before opening the door. “Well met, please come in Mister Sontion,” was his greeting, as warm and inviting as he could muster. “Ah, yes… sun-shun.. ” was the eerily frail reply from the small dark hooded colleague as he silently and quickly closed his host’s door firmly after crossing the threshold. “You seem chilled, may I offer you some…” was all that came from the wizard’s mouth before a cloak was thrown over the lamp plunging the entryway into darkness. The faint sound of a blade being drawn was next.

With one shaky hand he poured himself some satyr brandy, with his other he held fast onto his staff for support as blood stained the right side of his housecoat. He then stepped over the charcoal-like dust of the blasted remains of the dark creeper towards a comfortable chair. His awoken neighbor, Alsic, would soon return with a healer, but still his weary eyes laid fixed on the entryway and a spell prepared for trouble. Quidnunc sniffed the assassin’s remains on the floor and smudges on the nearby wall and furniture. “At least tomorrow’s appointment is with a priest known for his healing,” muttered the imp absently as he tasted the substance on the floor with a wince. Kustaa’s furrowed brow softened as he sunk deeper into the cushions and drained the glass with a sigh.

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