Sudden realization rang though Pa’Tria’s thoughts as he watched the two seated on the cushions within the main hall. The girl, Moira, he knew somewhat. She had been in residence here since he started his assignment at this Guild. She was not very adaptive at being a thief, having problems with the simplest of locks. But new Guilds, such as this, were always open to all takers. Pa’Tria knew this and had paid little attention to the unskilled girl.
But that man! Pa’Tria’s foot missed the next step and reflectively the assassin’s hand shot out, catching the nearby rail to steady him. His eyes never wavering from their focus on the couple in the room just below him.
And a man that could only be Anomen Delryn!
And if this man was Anomen Delryn, and he was this girl’s, Moira, father…
Then Moira had to be..!
Fourteen years… Fourteen long years. The Destroyers had tried once in Athkatla with over a thousand members in their ranks. But there were the others. The ‘Followers’. They had also been there. And they seemed better organized in their efforts. The night had been a bloody mess, with almost their total membership being wiped out.
They had believed that everyone in the Delryn Estate was dead. But even here they had been mistaken. For the man… This Man! Had survived, and so to had the boy that had been discovered shielded beneath his body.
But the target was gone!
Clearly the followers had gotten there first, and they had the Child, so they were not too worried about the survivors that had remained. If the Destroyers had arrived first, Pa’Tria felt sure, no one would have remained alive.
This time, though, they would not fail! He would get word out to his contacts. There were pockets of Destroyers up and down the Sword Coast. If people thought over a thousand deaths in Athkatla something, what would they think when the Destroyers shattered the whole city of Baldur’s Gate!
There would be no escaping their vengeance this time!!
‘No escape…’ Pa’Tria paused once again in his accent of the stairs with this thought stuck in his head. Why would he need any help? If he followed her… got her alone in a room… His name would be renowned within the membership. Maybe even as honored as ‘The Young One’. Just one simple quick thrust of his knife, that was all it would take, and his name, Louchge Pa’Tria would be even greater the that of the Young One.
Carefully he continued his observation of the two below him as they continued their discussion. Soon he witnessed the girl quickly arise from the cushions. The man just as quickly followed, placing his rough hand upon the girl’s slender arm, bring her to a halt, and turning her back towards him. Silently he watched as this Anomen Delryn reach around his neck and withdraw a leather cord he had strapped there. Then came the twinkle of gold as the father handed the strap to his daughter.
‘And this too will be mine!’ Pa’Tria thought. ‘Along with all its glory! Louchge Pa’Tria! The Greatest Assassin of all the Destroyers!’
The assassin continued his silent surveillance while the girl once again turned from the cushions and moved away from where they had been seated. Making her way steadily towards the stairs. And quickly she was passing the assassin, not even taking notice of his presence on the steps.
‘Good, good.’ Pa’Tria thought as he watched Moira move to the top of the stairs and entered the room there. Like a cat after a mouse, the assassin moved purposefully after his mark
‘So… this is where you hide her, Anomen.’
Mouran stopped at the entrance to the main hall, close the stairs that led to the Guild’s living quarters, the bard’s eyes having no trouble finding the object of two days pursuit. ‘No wonder on one has see her. Such a precious item, and to be hidden among thieves, cutthroats and assassins at that. Clever, my dear Anomen, very clever.’
Mouran had been performing ‘The Dwarf King Returns’ at the Friendly Arms Inn, along the Coast Way, two nights ago. It was during this performance when a small group of adventures wandered into the Inn’s main room from the chilly Sword Coast night. It was not uncommon, with the Inn’s location between Anm and places to the north, that wonderers would soon gather there. And the group was not unlike any other that was in search of gold or other hidden treasures. It was the one that presented himself as the group’s leader that had caught the bard’s eyes. Or, better yet, the man’s face.
It was the very face that he had been drawing for the past nine years. Although it now seamed far older then what his drawing were depicting. The outside world had not been as kind to these features as his charcoal and parchments had.
He could sketch this man in his sleep. Even now in the newly aged condition. Anomen Delryn had wondered in from place unknown to see Mouran’s show!
Was Mouran’s other query here as well? Had he been performing and all the while his pray sat listening under his slender nose. But such had not been the case. As the bard watched, his life-in-filled-drawing ordered a meal and a room. And, after quick consumption, retired to the afore rented quarters to sleep.
Very well, be that as it may. There was still coin to be had. A need for new drawing now, and payment from those that employed him for his unique hands and eyes.
But his part in this little tail had not ended there. For early the next morning, Mouran’s drawing-come-to-life had done the strangest thing. It had left the Friendly Arms Inn… Alone.
Nissie, the night maid, and a pretty young lass whom he had befriended on a couple of his earlier visits, came calling on him in his room before the dawn’s light had even broken over the horizon. The room he had asked her to watch over was now empty, and said occupant was now enjoying a hearty breakfast and making preparations to leave. The other rooms still contained his life-sketch’s slumbering comrades.
The bard now had to move quickly. Bidding ado to the still-resting-in-his-bed day maid, Mouran dressed and promptly left the very cozy-to-his-liking confines of the Inn proper. Just as his real-like-sketch walked out through the Keep’s front gate.
The insuring trail had not been hard to follow, the life-of-his-drawing was making best speed towards the north, and seemed to care very little for what might be taking up the rearguard. Mouran was quite sure that his aid would be required when the ankhegs attacked. But such had not been the case. Two of the beasts had been quickly slain, even before their heads had cleared the ground. The third had not lived much longer. His drawing-now-walking-briskly seemed very adept with the hammer that was carried at its side.
The pursuer was mildly surprised when his sketch-with-life turned to cross Wyrm's Crossing and enter the city of Baldur's Gate. And even more amazed with the directness of his drawing-taken-to-life's route through the city, and with the familiarity of the domicile it had chosen to enter.
He knew of this place, and very well in fact. But here they were and now his life-long-drawing-come-to-life was speaking with Gilliam Bloodtoes.
It is said that dwarves detest thieves within their own race. This may be true, of course, and if it is, it is only out of jealousy for the skills displayed within that peculiar profession by the one known as Gilliam Bloodtoes. It is said that there is not a trap yet designed that this master in his chosen craft cannot find and disarm, and that even the Gods fear his skill with a set of picks. Also, that he can hide, like the night, within his very own shadow. But these are mere words, and they fall far short of adequately describing the abilities of this one Dwarf.
If Gilliam was talking to his sketch-now-with-life then that meant that the Mistress was not in the city. Thoughts of the missing Guild Mistress brought a small warm smile to Mouran's features and a happy tingle to his hands. Gladden are they when work such as the innocents portrayed by Mistress Imoen needed to put to paper. Such a joy!
Though Mouran was no stranger to this place, it would be improper of him if he did not display some reason for coming. New guilds, such as this, tolerated some minor loitering, but an excess of tolerance for him would not be forthcoming.
It was quite by chance that a homely lass chose that time to pass close by the bard. Mouran's silver tongue began is work and quickly the importance of the lass's present duties were dissuaded by the need to speak joyfully with this handsome man. With his rouge in place Mouran would now be able to easily observe the action of his drawing-now-fidgeting.
It was not long after Master Gilliam had departed that another creature entered the main room. This creature moved with a simple grace, but not the grace of the shadows, no. This was the grace of the dance, and a dance that could put the brightest of lights on the darkest of stages. There was power and meaning in each movement. Though simple and complicated as each action was, when taken by themselves, here, in this body, the culminations were strikingly beautiful.
Taken as he was, Mouran knew his tongue was about to fail him, and he hoped the lass that stood beside him would not take quick notice of her suitor's now muted silence. It was hard, with eyes such as his that beheld work to be done, to allow one's verbiage to obstruct the process.
For as the eyes of the Master Drawer perceived, his life-aged-drawing and the creature-of-grace came together in a simple hug. His eyes had understood, long before his mind could comprehend. This that stood before him, this work to be put on parchment with charcoal by his hands, would put this lowly bard on easy street for the remainder of his existence.
This would be his greatest work, charcoal and paper seemed quite inadequate for the beauty that stood before him. But his eyes began acquiring those intricate details, which the brain would never perceive, though his hands would render flawlessly when the work truly began. Hair black, strait, hung down to the lower back. Skin the color of brass dipped in early morning sunlight. Thin lips that tremble, in need of a smile, but has seen very few. And eyes, so black, as if the Gods forgot that other colors could be used to portray such simple beauty. This was work that these hands eagerly awaited the chance to partake in.
A sudden noise that came from the stairs that lead to the building second floor caught Mouran's unused ears. His eyes took a quick glance in that direction, and the bard found himself frozen in horror.
'Pa'Tria… No…' But he should have been aware of their presents, there was more then one reason why Mouran had been to this place. Quickly Mouran scanned the rest of the interior of the building, how thoughtless could he have been. Two, three, four more that he knew. These seem unaware of the importance of the events that were taking place around them, but they all knew Pa'Tria, and one look at the assassin showed the he had spotted a very large target.
There had to be something he could do. Some way to warn those close by of the danger without bringing suspicion on him. It would do his drawings no good if he found himself incarcerated, by association, and unable to ply his talents to their proper medium.
He watched, in self-contained horror, as his creature-of-dancing-grace nodded to his sketch-of-aged-living and move past him to begin her slow accent to the second floor.
The palms of his hand began to itch, not for the need to fill them with the implements of their professed desire. No, now there was a need for the steel that hung hidden, seemingly useless in his present situation, from his slim stature.
This could not be happening to him! His masterwork, his greatest achievement! His hands did not work well in RED! But his quick working mind had evaded him! He could see no way out! Slowly his made-for-the-stage-graceful-creature slid past the animal-in-waiting-assassin not even noticing its present. But the latter was taking in every movement of the former.
Soon she was gone from his sight, and so was Pa'Tria, and nothing was left but silence.
Dreadful, elongated silence…