Rise of the Thrall Lord
Knights of the Couch - Part XIII - Assassin Season - Chapter 5
Chapter 5: Trouble At the Black Pig
Seth made his way through the dark streets of Lukescros towards the Black Pig Tavern. He already knew that it was on the waterfront, although he had never actually been inside of it before. Seth had been in Lukescros briefly when he had left the party back at the Dark Monolith. He had come here to complete his training in the healing arts. But that training had been rigorous and he had not had time on that trip for sightseeing. He had received a sending from Aksel and knew that his companions had once again needed his special talents. So he had forgone any chance to peruse the city of Lukescros any further and opted to rejoin his friends instead.
It was now near midnight and this section of town, which was mostly commercial, was completely empty. But this was no problem for Seth. The little ninja was quite at home in dark places. It made his movements through the town all that more difficult to follow. Not that Seth was being followed now of course. But you could never be too cautious.
The halfling made his way along the waterfront till he saw a building lit up ahead. As he got closer he could hear sounds coming from the place. He peered in one of the windows and saw that it was indeed a tavern. Making his way around the front he saw the sign above the door that confirmed that this was the Black Pig. However, he did not want to enter just yet.
When he had peered through the window, Seth had noted that most of the clientele frequenting the bar where dressed in black robes. Luckily, Seth had pilfered one of the smaller robes from the Thieve’s guild before he had left. It was most likely Wardina’s. She was slight of frame enough and not that much taller than him. The little ninja took out the robe and his knife and made some minor adjustments to the length. Then he tried it on. Perfect he thought to himself. Who needs a tailor when you have skill with a knife?
Seth, still smiling, swung his pack onto his back and then put the robe on over it. He pulled the hood up to hide his features and then made his way to the front of the tavern once again. He pushed the door open and went inside. It was rather loud, with bard music playing and a lot of talking. But he observed that his entrance did not go unnoticed. There were a few unsavory types with a clear view of the door that scrutinized him as he quietly came in. Ah, he thought, now this was more like it. The Thieve’s Guild pod they had discovered had been child’s play for one of Seth’s abilities. Now here was a place where they ran a tight ship. No one came or went unnoticed. This place would be more of a challenge. And Seth liked challenges.
The little ninja quickly scrutinized his surroundings. There were a few tables in the center of the room. Most of the folks there were drunk and/or passed out. But the walls were all lined with booths, and these were kept very dark. Purposely no doubt, the ninja thought to himself. That was most likely where all the Thieve’s Guild related transactions took place in town. There was probably an assassin or two also lurking about. After all, Garrotten was less than a day’s ride from here.
The bar was a long the back wall. Seth made his way silently back there and sat on an empty stool next to a man who appeared to be passed out. There was a tankard of ale, still half full, in front of the man on the bar. The little ninja bided his time, trying to remain inconspicuous until the bartender came over to him.
The bartender was a big burly man. He had a wet glass in his hand and a towel in the other. He was drying the glass as he walked over to Seth. “What can I get you?” he said in a gruff voice. “Information,” Seth replied softly pulling out a gold piece and placing it on the bar. The man stopped drying the glass and put it down. He eyed the coin dubiously and then asked, “What sort of information?”
“I am looking for someone,” Seth said quietly. “A man named Gremik.” A touch of fear briefly passed over the bartender’s face at the mention of the name, but then he quickly recovered. “Looking for Gremik, you say?” the bartender replied raising his voice, “Never heard of him.” The burly man turned and began walking away. Seth, realizing he had just been ratted on, turned in his stool, planning to leave the bar. But his way was suddenly blocked by a figure in a dark cloak. The ninja, paused for a moment, then sat back on his stool and leaned against the bar, trying to look nonchalant. Not taking his eyes off of the black robed man blocking his way, he continued to scan the tavern out of the corner of his eyes to map out an escape route.
“Who wants to know?” the dark robed figure asked. Seth continued looking at the man as he weighed his options. He noted that a big beefy woman, in barbarian’s clothes and holding an axe, was now standing in front of one of the booths not 10 feet away. She was watching him and the dark cloaked man intently. Seth decided to play along for now.
“Fafnar,” the little ninja replied. “Who’s that?” the man said in response, thinly hiding his amusement. “You know,” Seth said pointedly, “your employer. Tall, pale faced, arrogant, thinks he is God’s gift to the world.” The dark robed man laughed. “Ha friend, you’ve just described half the nobles I’ve ever dealt with.” This was definitely Gremik, Seth decided.
The ninja also noted that they were starting to attract a crowd now. The tavern dwellers could sense something was off and were eager to see some action. That was good he thought to himself. It would be easier to lose himself in the crowd and make his way to the door. Seth continued to draw out the conversation hoping to draw the crowd in closer. He leaned forward in his stool and said softly, “It is a clear night but there might be lightning.” The man, unfazed replied, “Only fools fly on chickens.”
“Well then,” Seth replied, satisfied now that they had drawn enough attention from the tavern’s patronage, “It’s a good thing that I’m not a chicken.” Gremik, obviously not expecting that reply, laughed in spite of himself. It was a decidedly evil laugh. When he was done, he asked the halfling, “Who do you work for?” Seth regarded him briefly and then responded in as sarcastic a tone as possible, “I’m self employed.” The effect on Gremik was immediate. He gave Seth an evil look and said darkly, “I think you should leave now.”
Seth, having sat back again, and leaning on the bar said, “I don’t think so. I am quite comfortable where I am.” Gremik, obviously angry now, did not take his eyes off of Seth. He called back to the big beefy woman and said, “Aud, escort our friend out of here.” The big woman walked over, a large grin on her face. Now that she was almost on top of him, Seth realized just how large she was. She was easily as big as Lloyd. “It’ll be my pleasure,” the barbarian woman said in a deep voice as she stood there running her finger along the edge of the axe she held in the other hand.
Seth, however, had been prepared for something like this. As he sat back at the bar, he used his cloak to hide the fact that he was reaching into a pouch on his belt. Before anyone could make another move, Seth launched himself forward tumbling to the ground. He stuck one of the darts they had found in the Thieve’s Guild into the barbarian’s leg as he tumbled between them.
Not expecting this sudden attack, the big woman’s reactions were slow. She swung at Seth as he tumbled through her legs but was too late by far. In mid tumble, Seth had drawn a dagger in his other hand. It was a dagger of human bane he had “acquired” on his last trip to this town.. As he came out of his tumble behind the barbarian, he whirled quickly and stabbed her in the back of the leg with the dagger. “Ouch!” she screamed. “I’ll get you for that you little runt!” Seth noted out of the corner of his eye that Gremik had moved off and was now watching the battle intently from the crowd.
The barbarian turned and swung three times at the little ninja with her axe. The first two swings missed, but the third one grazed his shoulder. She’s fast for someone that big, Seth thought to himself. I need to get out of here now. After she had made contact, the barbarian woman clenched her fists together and began seething with joy. Her body seemed to heat up and glowed faintly red as steam began to rise off of it. She was raging Seth realized. But this was actually his chance.
He turned and tumbled between the legs of one of the onlookers. The ninja was immediately back on his feet and weaving through the crowd. As he made it to the door, he cast a quick glance over his shoulder and saw the half-orc barbarian pushing her way through the crowd straight for him. She cast the onlookers aside as if they were rag dolls.
Seth made it outside with only seconds to spare. The barbarian was out the door right behind him. But Seth was ready for her. Instead of running, he whirled and faced her. Not ready for this, she paused for a moment. The ninja took advantage of her hesitation and launched himself forward once again tumbling through her legs. As he came up behind her, he reached into his pouches and drew out two cocktails he had prepared for an occasion like this.
The barbarian whirled and took another swing at him with her axe. She was faster this time, but he was still able to dodge it. Then he threw both cocktails at her. They ignited on impact bursting into flames. The large woman was momentarily stunned. Not taking his eyes off her, Seth quickly cast the spider climb spell on himself. Out of the corner of his eye, he noted that Gremik and some of the tavern patrons had followed them outside.
The barbarian was using her big hands to put out the flames. She had squelched most of them and then screamed and charged at the halfling. But Seth launched himself into the air, the barbarian passing underneath him, unable to halt her charge. The little ninja stuck to the wall of the tavern and scurried up to the roof as quick as he could. As he vaulted himself onto the roof, an axe went flying past him barely missing his head. He quickly turned and looked down. The barbarian stood on the ground staring up at him screaming, “You get back here you little runt! I’m going to eat you for breakfast!” As she ranted, Seth noted that her axe was made a wide arc and returned to her hand. Returning axe, he thought to himself. Nice!
“First you have to catch me!” he called back down taunting her. As he yelled, he felt a sharp pain in his right shoulder. Seth grabbed it with his other hand and when he pulled it away saw there was blood on his fingers. Guess she did more damage with that axe than I initially thought he realized. He placed his other hand on his shoulder and began to concentrate casting the spell he had recently learned to cure this serious wound.
He continued to watch the barbarian woman below who was still screaming obscenities at him. Then a man in robes walked up to her and cast a spell upon her. Seth immediately recognized it as the jump spell. Crap, he thought to himself, I need to get out of here now. Luckily he had finished healing himself. He turned and ran across the rooftop as he cast the spell which would allow him to run faster. He knew the spell had the nice side effect of also increasing the distance you could jump as well.
He heard the barbarian land on the other end of the roof as he reached this end of it. “Where you going little man?” came her voice from behind him, “The party has just started!” Seth launched himself over to the next rooftop, easily clearing the distance. “Sorry,” he called over his shoulder, “but I have a pressing engagement elsewhere!” He heard her still screaming as she tried to follow him across the rooftops, but her cries began to diminish until he had left her far behind. About five blocks away Seth turned and saw that he had indeed lost her.
He scanned his surroundings, getting his bearing, intending to head back to the Bright Angel. A few houses over he saw another tavern. The sign above the door read the Grey Swan. Seth was about to turn away when he spied a woman walking towards the tavern entrance. The woman had long blond hair and was probably about eighteen years old. She turned to look behind her as she made it to the tavern door. Seth did a double take. It looked just like Ves!
The young blonde woman went into the Grey Swan. Seth, intrigued, dropped down to ground level and walked over to the tavern entrance. He quickly scanned around him, satisfied he was still not being followed, then entered the Grey Swan to look for the Ves lookalike.