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Whatever the Future Holds: Part 3

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#1 Guest_Silver_*

Posted 15 July 2004 - 08:10 PM

Whatever the Future Holds: Part 3

Edwin had no idea how long he slept for, but when he awoke, he found himself locked in a dark, damp cell. There were no windows, so he could not tell whether he was underground or not. The only light he had came from a single candle that was burning outside his cage. He was confused for a moment, couldn’t quite work out where he was and how he had come to be there. But then he remembered how the assassins had ambushed him on the road to Nashkell. It had almost seemed as though they had been waiting for him, but he couldn’t work out why.

Surprisingly, all his equipment was there, his amulet, his dagger. The only thing missing was his spellbook and Edwin suddenly realised with a start that he could remember none of his spells. His mind was completely blank, most likely because of the sleeping dart or whatever they had shot him with. That frightened him the most…his talent was spellcasting, not hand to hand combat, and with no spells at his disposal, he was powerless.

“Just where am I?” he asked out loud. He didn’t expect an answer, but even the sound of his own voice was comforting.

“Mae’Var’s guildhall in Athkatla.” A low voice from the shadows startled the wizard for he had not realised that there was anyone there. It was a nice voice, distinctly male but still strangely soft.

“Athkatla? How did I…?”

“Our own mages teleported you here. You have been out of it for close to two days now. Our boss has been waiting for you to wake up.”

“Mae’Var’s guildhall…” Edwin was struggling to take everything in. He was sure Kane had mentioned Mae’Var before. “This is a Shadow Thief guildhall, yes? What do the Shadow Thieves want with me?”

“I cannot say for I have no idea. Not that I would tell you if I did, I value my life too much for that. Come on.” There was a click and the door to Edwin’s cell swung open. “I’ve got to take you to the boss.”

Edwin rose and finally got his first good look at the man he had been talking to. He looked younger than the wizard had first assumed, somewhere around very early twenties. His delicate facial features, framed by his short dark-blond hair, and slightly pointed ears suggested that he had some elven blood in him, which also accounted for his short and lean frame. There was no hostility in his eyes and although it seemed absurd given the situation he was in, Edwin quite liked him.

“What’s your name?” he asked. The assassin moved round to behind Edwin and caught hold of his arms, gently but firmly.

“I’m Cory,” he said hesitantly. The wizard said nothing else, sensing that he was reluctant to talk.

The assassin kept one hand on his left shoulder and another on his right arm as he guided the wizard through a series of short, twisted and dark tunnels. They also went up two short flights of stairs, which made Edwin assume that they were indeed underground. It was so dark that he could see nothing ahead of him and so he was grateful for the hands that helped him. His captor moved with ease despite the darkness.

“We keep most of our prisoners down here,” he whispered in Edwin’s ear. “So they won’t be found easily if the guild is raided.”

When they came to a brick wall that seemed impossible to pass, the assassin reached out and pressed something and a section of the wall slid effortlessly aside, allowing them to pass. On the other side was a brightly lit room, still with no windows but lit with oil lamps and candles. The bright light hurt Edwin’s eyes.

The room appeared to be some kind of recreation room. There were several tables, though only two were occupied by men playing cards. In total, Edwin counted twelve of them. Only one particularly stood out, understandable given that he was as twice as big as any of the men around him. He was huge, about seven feet tall and in possession of enormous muscles. The wizard wondered how he could be a thief of any kind; he was far too big to creep about quietly.

After several minutes, one of the men finally looked up. “Our prisoner has awoken, I see. You can go now, Cory, your job here is done.”

“Thank you, sir.” The assassin released Edwin and left the room very quickly, with just one more quick glance at the wizard. Edwin studied the man who had spoken.

Perhaps it was the way he sneered at everyone around him, or maybe the complete lack of emotion in his pale blue eyes, but Edwin disliked him on sight. He was roughly the same height and build as Kane, more muscular than many of the other assassins, but still not overly so. His head was shaved right down to the scalp and he was also clean-shaven. On his left arm was a long tattoo of a snake that stretched right down to the back of his hand. He stood directly in front of Edwin and looked the wizard up and down. A cold smile flickered across his lips and Edwin tried not to shiver.

“So this is…Edwin Odesseiron? Not bad, though not the sort I would expect Kane Theaza to take as a lover.”

There was a rumble of laughter from the others in the room. Edwin scowled.

“My relationship with Kane has nothing to do with you!”

“You’ve got spirit, I’ll give you that.” The assassin nodded, not seeming particularly annoyed. “I suppose Theaza enjoys that. But you may be broken yet…” He smiled again. “Your relationship with him is why you are here, wizard.”

“I don’t understand what you mean! Who are you anyway?”

“They call me Randal. I am Mae’Var’s right hand man and the one responsible for training this guild’s assassins.”

“I see.” Edwin met Randal’s gaze, refusing to back down. “Now tell me what you want with me.”

“Like I said,” the assassin shrugged. “You were Kane Theaza’s friend and lover. We know this because we have been watching him for some time now, from a distance. Put simply, we need him here. We need him for the powers that we helped him discover. But it is unlikely that he would work for us by his own choice and I doubt that we could bring him here by force. He’s too powerful and I am not willing to risk my assassins on him. But if he cares for you as much as he seems to, perhaps knowing that you are here…”

“You intend to use me to lure Kane here,” Edwin realised angrily. “And then what? Are you going to use me to blackmail him?”

“We haven’t decided yet. The most important thing is to actually get him here and the plans for that are already in motion.”

The wizard snorted. “You assume that he will even care. In any case, you speak as if I will go along with this.”

“Oh, he will come for you,” Randal sounded sure of this. “As for your co-operation in this matter,” his voice dropped and turned dangerously cold. “I am sure you are an intelligent man, Odesseiron, and an intelligent man would quickly see that there was no choice in the matter. Don’t try to fight us and you won’t get a hard time. Mess with me and I will make your life a living hell. Your choice.”

The last thing Edwin wanted was to see Kane get hurt, but he was bright enough to realise that he had no other choice just then. For now, the only thing to do was to work with them and hope that things would work out in the end.

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