The one where it turned out not to be a trap

The wind had picked a bit during the day and was blowing some colder air down from the mountainside, bringing with it the crisp fresh air of the snowy mountain side. Yanika pulled her cloak better around her neck to protect her from the slightly chilling breeze, her long hair playing a bit in the wind. She was sitting on the roof of Ace and Spades, together with her friends Helix and Zaela. The spot had become a quick favorite if they didn’t want to go anywhere far and needed some time to themselves.


“So...after you had dealt with the assassins you went after Kharan?”


The goblin asked Yanika. He still had a hard time believing that their favorite alchemy teacher had turned out to be part of a secret organisation of assassins.


“Some of us wanted to go back to the apartment and ambush him there, but for once Kayne actually made sense, and agreed with me that we should not confront him there, as to not attract the attention of the guards. So instead we just approached him on the streets to have a talk. He told us that he himself is not an assassin but rather a contact and that he just provides information to Moss. He thinks there are no other assassins in Himmin at the moment, but he also couldn’t say if and when more would be sent. So we let him go to deliver the bad news of the first bunch failing to his boss.”


She took a long sip from her wine and gave a soft sigh of pleasure. Her feet were dangling over the edge of the roof and swinging lazily back and forth.


“Anyway, we had other things to attend to. Kayne had talked to Jeb about the noble mansion with the Stovras family, and he assured Kayne that he was sure there is a shadowfell creature there. I suggested to the rest that maybe lord Stovras is the creature itself and that he has the coin inside of him. Ace wanted to infiltrate the house by pretending to be part of the staff but that turned out not to be an option as they are all very dedicated to the family. So instead we went looking for some mercenaries who also fought in the same battles as the nobles, and see if they could tell us something more.”


She chuckled softly as she recalled the entire thing. There had been only one mercenary in town who had been in the fight where they had been wounded, and it turned out to be an insane halfling with anger management problems named Krump. It had been love at first sight between him and Kayne. After they had done some bonding ritual by bashing each other's heads in, the halfling had told them that all three nobles had died in the battle, and that he had seen it happen.


“So I theorized to the rest that lord Stovras was the shadowfell creature who had somehow come back, maybe through Mezanna, and that he had brought back his sons after. So while I went to check the library for more information on Mezanna, the rest went to talk to Eliander, which didn’t turn out so well. They could confirm that he is dead, or undead, but he didn’t believe them, got pissed off and left. Which is a promise none of us can keep of course, so I wonder how that will turn out. In the meanwhile I learned that Mezanna is called the Dark Queen of Desperation, one of the three Umberlords, who, you’ll never guess, mostly deals with undead.”


The rest had told her that Zebulor apparently had a crush on Eliander, and that he had told the rest to not touch the noble if it came to a confrontation, because he didn’t know what he would do then. Yanika shook her head and cursed softly. Situations like that could really cause a rift in a group and she hoped it would not come to that, or that he would come to see reason. First Majid with the torture and now Zebulor with threats? Not a good situation to be in. She made a note to keep an eye on him if and when they went to deal with the nobles, fearing what might happen.


“While we were sharing the information and discussing what to do next, some old man entered the office. He told us his name is Ovik, and that he’s looking for Kayne, to hire him to deal with some bandits who had attacked the caravan he had been part of. The caravan was owned by Fermon Ka of all people and Ovik told us that some people had been taken, and he wants us to deal with it. He offered double the amount of money that Kayne asked for, because he didn’t have exact change, which, combined with the timing of the request, sounded very suspicious to me.”


Zaela, who had been quiet up to that point nodded in agreement. It did sound very suspicious to her also.


“That very much sounds like someone wanted you out of town and lure you into a trap.”


Yanika pursed her lips and nodded.


“Yeah that is what I thought too, but I was proven wrong though. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Obviously the group rushed off immediately to do the good thing and run into a possible ambush without thinking too much about the consequences. It took us most of the day to find the place of the ambush and track down the bandits. We found their camp at nightfall, and decided to do it the sneaky way and free the prisoner first, a young girl. But Majid and spade, who went in, got seen when they tried to extract her, so a fight broke out. The fight went pretty smooth, except for Majid getting buried under a large pile of dirt thrown by the cyclops among the bandits! After we had cleared the camp, we retrieved the girl, Selke, and the goods that the bandits had taken. Selke had never heard of Ovik, which only made me more suspicious. We spent the night there and headed back in the morning.”


Both Helix and Zaela looked at her expectantly, the story having them on the edge of their seats, which in this case was the edge of the roof.


“Unfortunately, or fortunately, it turned out not to be a clever ploy to get us out of the city. Our place wasn’t ransacked, we weren’t ambushed. It all turned out to be a legit rescue operation.”


Helix looked a bit disappointed while Zaela for her part looked relieved. Both of course cared greatly for Yanika and wanted her home safely, but Helix was by far the more adventurous type. Yanika for her part had just been disappointed that it had turned out different than she had expected.


“We went to talk to Ovik afterwards to inform him of the job done and that Selke was safe, and it turned out that he had another job for us, a very easy one this time. He wanted us to look for an old friend of his, Torrok. You know, the orc who started this entire thing in the first place? So good news was that we could tell him all about Torrok, bad news was that Torrok was dead. Majid then started questioning Ovik about all of it a bit, no idea why, but it did give us some extra information. They said they had been together in looting the temple where the Mirrorsword came from, and that they had fought over it, but in the end had parted as friends. We told him that the sword had passed on to the right owner, but didn’t say to whom.”


Ovik had also told them that he was on a personal quest to write down every arcane spell in existence, and had this really big tome with him. They had told him about the scrolls they had found, and he had wanted to buy the scroll of clone. Kayne had almost offered it for free, but under big protest, amongst others from Yanika, they had negotiated a fair price, which had left all of them a lot wealthier. The gems he had given each of them had turned out to be magical, and had all been part of some magical item.

“In the end I think it was Ace who betrayed that one of us had the Mirrorsword, and that might be a good thing. Ovik told us that the sword also had other uses, like it can be used in a ritual with which you can see the future, something he’ll teach me, and it can be used to steal the fate of other creatures, something he’s sadly unwilling to teach. Not that I’d go around stealing other people’s fates of course! At least, not the good ones. But you could also use it to steal someone’s bad fate no? save the life of someone you care about? I would love to be able to do that.”


Ovik


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