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Author 537273839_Inactive

Stories : The Return

EverQuest 2 tale by 537273839_Inactive, 2005-07-02T08:33:00.0000000. Reads: 411
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Chapter 1

Sweat was dripping out from underneath Sharukthra’s scales as his hammer hit the piece of tin in front of him over and over again. He had been at it for hours, his muscles budging out to their limits putting stress on his scales making them sore as well. With his large form and most of his clothes off he was still quite an intimidating feature of the craft area. A few people had stopped in while he was in there and decided to work on the far end of the room away from the Iksar.

 

Sharukthra loved the heat and he loved keeping busy so blacksmithing only seemed natural to him. After some lessons from a few others that had been in the trade he started with just making some bars and spikes for the boys so that they could do simple tasks for Freeport inn rooms. He never got to work on the complex materials with them. It was too expensive to give to a hatchling to mess up. Sharukthra was no hatchling anymore and now he was trying to make the sconces that the boys use to make himself. It started slow and the first few did not look so great. He would probably sell those for materials to the merchant but after a few more his work started to take a much better form. He could maybe sell some of them in the Qeynos market but he wanted to keep a good half dozen for himself. His room needed a bit more warmth to it and some night lighting would not be a bad thing either.

 

Sharukthra dumped the twenty some odd sconces into his bag after they cooled down enough and looked in his other bag beside him. Iron. He picked up the large hunk of heavy metal and studied it for a moment. This was going to be much harder to work he thought to himself and then shrugged. No time like the present to mess it up. He had a good fifty or so to work with and Chie had given him so many eolith tempers to work the metal that he could have a bath in it. He shook of the nasty thought that came with that and went back to work in the forge, making bars again, but this time with the not so easy materials to work with.

 

Hours passed. His muscles were no longer sore from working, his natural regenerating ability had kicked in and healed the tendons and made them more resilient to the abuse he as putting them through. It was one thing Cazic might have been right in his teaching about pain. You will grow stronger with pain. Cazic was right in more then one way with that. It had hardened Sharukthra more then he could have imagined over the years and it had allowed him to protect the one that he cared for. Still, over the last few days they had managed to get Chie into a few scrapes with death. Everything always went after the smallest and weakest target out there and Sharukthra was not strong enough to stop them….. yet.

 

Finishing up with the forge he picked up the rest of his equipment, and put it into a bag, not wanting to put back on his bulky plate mail just yet. He walked up the stairs of the craft halls and back into the streets of Castleview right into another Iksar, a female Iksar at that, who immediately bowed to Sharukthra and smiled at him. He smiled in kindness and gave a courteous nod to her. She was beautiful for the race and he might have even decided to court her then and there but he had other things on his mind and other obligations to forfill before settling for life with someone. He excused himself and made back to the Inn knowing full well that the female’s eyes were following him as he entered the Inn.

 

It was halfway up the stairs to his and Chie’s room that it happened. A strong wave of vial evil washed over his mind, making his scales flex in tight to his body for protection and he instinctually went to the top of the stairs in a dead rush and then turned to face his incomer. There was nothing though behind him, but still the evil emanated in his head. Like a six sense it pulsed in his mind hard for a few moments before it subsided to just a dull reminder. He had not felt such a presence since…..

 

“Cazic be damned. Tell me it is not true. Please tell me that he was not right.” He turned picking up his gear and headed into his room quickly. If it was true he was far from prepared………..

Chapter 2

The purple flames of the torches danced awake one by one as the dark green robed figured walked slowly down the hall past them, turning off only when the mysterious figure reached the next torch in the hall which repeated the pattern. It was a long and dark hallway that stilled smelled after all the years that he had been here of death, pain and much blood. The wailing souls of dead adventures could still be heard in the halls, echoing off the walls. It still brought a smile to his face after all these years thinking of how many adventures he had slaughtered in these very halls trying to get to Cazic Thule.

 

He was chosen, he and his brother both. Born of discord and raised up in everything that Cazic would want in a right hand man and his healer. They had learnt their own way, on their own, to the tops of their own society and were revered and feared by them all. They had all but taken over the Empire when they were ported here, to the halls of Cazic Thule’s own castle and given their new task.  To protect him from the comers. The ones who would destroy the gods out of greed and power.

 

The dark figure reached for the large handle of the main door to the throne room, his scaled hand did not tremble at the thoughts of the person he would be entering in on. It was a regular routine for him, where an adventurer would just about piss themselves here at the very thought of the god seeing them. It was rather amusing to see them open the door expecting the worse and getting it and still run in terror only to be slaughtered by him and his brother.

 

But the halls were empty anymore. The shattering of the portals and all the entrances to these lands and all the others had closed off all access by mortals to this realm. The last few hundred years had left the dark figure to train on his own and beat up the other minions in the castle. It was rather boring, they expected it and enjoyed it too much. There was only so much of tat one could take. They didn’t even scream bloody murder for him. They just laughed and said “Do it again master.” He needed new thralls, that was all there was to it.

 

The throne room was full of minions doing menial tasks and entertaining themselves on the number of traps and torture devices in the room. The dark figured shook his head and wandered straight for the throne itself where his master sat with a small smile on his face. It did not take the God very long at all to noticed his servant coming and he freed himself of the succubus that was on him by merely flicking it across the room and into a bed of nails where she sighed and giggled in pleasure. Three demons in the room then decided to go to work on her, which again made Cazic smile as he turned to the robed figure.

 

“My most trusted servant in all my lands. What brings you to my hall today? Do you need the trainers again?”

 

“I thank-you for your compliment Lord and master but I am not here for your trainers. They have not been of use to me for almost a hundred years now. They are weak and unfit for me. They bring no pleasure even to beat them, they are so pathetic.”

 

Cazic Thule frowned and looked over his shoulder towards where his trainers were. For the first time in almost two hundred years the robed figure saw fear in someone’s eyes. Cazic’s eyes gleamed for a moment and the trainers started to scream in terror and pain. The torture continued as they both watched the souls of the trainers slowly be ripped from the bodies of the trainers, until they were free and the lifeless corpses dropped to the floor in a small heap and the twisted souls of the damned were released into the halls to wail with the rest of them.

 

Cazic turned back to the robed figure. “They have been, disposed of, servant. What troubles you then?”

 

“I need new thralls and the gates are closed for me to get some. No one has intruded on your halls for hundreds of years now my lord and although it is nice to have time to train and learn new methods of pain there is no challenge here left for me.”

 

Cazic Thule nodded slowly. “You are not use to the immortality that you have been granted. You do things too quickly my son. You must learn to enjoy things a lot more slowly and have patience with the times. These are the good times. The times where we get to rest finally after years of war with the mortals.”

 

“Yes of course Master. I see wisdom in you teachings.” The robed figure thought quickly for another approach. “I wonder, Master, how are things are the mortal plain? Does my lord know if they are planning a return and finding a means back to this realm soon?

 

Cazic snarled and got out of his throne. His large hoofed feet clacking heavily onto the dark marbled floors and he stood, towering over all in the room. Everyone turned and watched in amusement, expecting the servant to get a lashing like he had never experienced before. Instead though, Cazic took a walk to the far end of the room to a globe and looked down at it. “Unfortunately, my globe stopped working when the gate to the Planes of Power was destroyed. I do not have a way to check this now. All I have is the stories from the dead that return to here of what is going on in the world now.”

 

“Maybe the Master would do me and my brother the honour of scouting the mortal planes your name then. To be your eyes and ears and tell you of how things are down there,”

 

Cazic turned slowly and looked down at the now kneeling robed figure. “You are more clever then your brother tends to give you credit for.” He reached down and picked him up and brought him to his level. It had been the first time in a long time that the robed figure had been picked up by the god, gently at least. “You realize that I can not send you back like this. You would stand out too much with all of your power. Yes… I would send you back to another body. All I can promise you is that immortality will stay intact. After that the rest will be up to you.”

 

The robed figure bowed to Cazic. “It is best to learn from the bottom to the top. We can best learn as we grow in the ranks of this society they now call Freeport.”

 

Cazic nodded. “So it shall be then.” Cazic summoned a small black pendant and placed it over the head of the robed figure, taking off his hood in the process revealing the red eyed Iksar that was underneath. The pendant sizzled as it landed on the servants chest and absorbed itself into his body, no doubt attaching itself to his soul directly as he was about to leave this body behind. “Go my Servant of Pain and show them what it is to really be a follower of Cazic Thule. I will send you brother as soon as he is fetched from the study.”

 

“Of course my lord. I will do all that would make you smile and more. I have relatives that I must punish and a land to teach the values of real pain to.”

 

Cazic put the figure down. “Remove your cloak and let me gazed upon you once more trusted servant.”

 

The robed figure pulled his cloak off obediently with one hand showing his full body of monk wraps and bulging muscles. The succubus’s eyes in the room turned and they licked their lips at him only to receive a smack from the demons that were near them. The Iksar kneeled to his Master and awaited his final death in this body and the rebirth into another. He saw nothing, and felt nothing. All he heard was the words “Make me proud.” Before the darkness took him and he awoke in another body.

Chapter 3

Sharukthra poured through all the books that he had in his room looking for one of his father’s old writings. There were a few and they were in between pages of other books, mostly to keep them safe from damage. The problem was, there was no order to them. Sharukthra cursed under his breath. He had meant to do that so many times before and only now was it such a royal pain in the butt. A page slipped out of one of the books and fell slowly to the floor. He snapped the book closed and reached down grabbing the paper before it had even fallen halfway to the floor. Either he had gotten fast or he was in what his father called. The fighter’s minute. It is a moment where it seems that everything slows right down and you can see and anticipate every single movement in a room in what seems to take an hour to get through. You have all the time in the world to react to every single move that anyone had made and still have enough time to do everything else necessary to keep yourself and your friends alive. Then as quickly as it had slowed down, everything speeds back to normal and you notice that only a few seconds have went by, sixty of them to be exact.

 

He opened the paper and read it.

 

-         I could feel him like if he was nearby in Cabilis, but I knew that he was on Luclin at the time. Something had changed in him and his presence I could now feel no matter where I was. I could not escape it and it instilled a fear in me that I have never felt before. Then he and his brother returned to Cabilis and every Iksar could feel them as they came in. Cazic had blessed them and he was showing his new scar as a Servant of Pain, branded only by Cazic himself. They walked past everyone and right into the tample where the head shaman was, killing him slowly and showing no care if there were repercussions or not. I doubted anyone could have done anything to them if they wanted to. The power off them was tremendous. They knew it and could feel the fear in the city from the residents, and they enjoyed every minute of it. They had come back to show everyone that they could rule the city if they wanted to and make Norrath fear Iksar again. They instead decided that they were leaving to serve a more worthy person, Cazic Thule. There was a bright fiery flame as they finished and they were gone. The feeling of his presence left me and I then knew that what they spoke was true. They had gone to serve our God in his Plane. –

 

Sharukthra closed the paper and slipped it under the book that he got it out of instead of putting it away. He was not blinking anymore but instead was in a sort of shocked state. The feeling he was getting was just as it was spoken by his father previously. Had they left Cazic’s Plane and returned to Norrath? Had they come back to rebuild Cabilis and rule it or take Lucan out of power? Or was his grandfather coming straight for him. The latter was not very pleasing to him. If even half of what he had read in other letters or heard of his grandfather’s legacy was true, Sharukthra was no match for the master monk, especially one who had served Cazic.

 

“What does he want?” He looked over at his journal and picked it up. It was unusually cold compared to the room. “You feel him too don’t you?” He shook his head and sighed almost expecting an answer from journal that sounded like his father or a vision or anything. There was nothing more then silence and the coldness of the journal in his hand.  

Chapter 4

Chapter 4 The Hunt Begins

 

The new body was perfect. It was not dressed well but at least the physical aspects were…. Perfect. Discarding the clothing that his host had worn before his soul was set free the Servant of Pain reached down and picked up a bag that dropped beside him as he was quickly getting his bearings. Inside was his knuckles and…a robe. Pulling it out the Iksar smiled and thanked Cazic silently. It was the robe he had just taken off before his god. Cazic Thule had seen it fit to return it to him on the mortal plane. To most it would look like old green robe left over from before the cataclysm, but it was more then that. It was a training robe that had been given to him to increase his maximum potential. It weighed a hundred pounds on its own and he was made to do all his exercises in it. Putting it on he realized that this body was abnormally strong and was having little issues with the weight. He smiled, approving of Cazic’s choice for a second time. He tried a few of his Katas and noticed again that this body seemed rather well suited to his profession. He then stepped out into the street and looked around for others noticing quite quickly that he larger then the other Iksar in the area and the first merchant that looked at him backed up two steps before holding his ground and asking if the stranger wanted to see any of his wares.

 

“No,” He grunted out at the merchant “Where do all the people go to sleep around here?”

 

“New to Freeport then?” The merchant settled some confusing the robed Iksar to why he was relaxing.

 

“You can say that. Now before I take your head and smash it into that wall behind you, tell me what I want to know.”

 

“Yeah, whatever you say. It’s down the street and has a nice large sign on it that says Inn. I am sure you can not miss it if you are actually looking…” He was cut off as he was lifted off the ground by the robed Iksar and held there choking on his words.

 

“I’ve heard quite enough out of you hatchling.” With a slight flick of his wrist the merchant flew out of his hand and into the back of his stall booth knocking the whole stall over with a large crash.

 

The robed figured nodded in pleasure, mostly with himself and went down the street slowly, taking in the layout of the area and its inhabitants. They were all Iksar but they were not as proud as they once were. Out of place and not the leaders of this Freeport. He stopped at the Inn and looked the Innkeeper up and down. A Barbarian, and not the biggest of the bunch either.

 

“I need to see someone here. Maybe you can tell me what room he is in.”

 

“Don’t we all buddy. Look if he owes yah money or somethin I do not wantcha smashin my place up. The guards do that enough.”

 

“Too bad for you. Where is Sharukthra Rahathra?”

 

“Who? There are agreements between the tenants and me that says I don’t know anyone, if you know what I mean.” He was holding out his hand a bit at the robed figure looking for some sort of bribe. The robed figure smiled.

 

“Of course where are my manners.” They both smiled at each other very briefly before the robed figure grabbed the Innkeepers hand, twisted it behind his back and then used him for a battling ram into the door which split at the door frame and sent the barbarian sprawling into the dark and dirty, empty hallway. The robed figure stepped in after him and looked down at the man on the floor.

 

“Now that the pleasantries are out of the way I will ask you again. Where is Sharukthra Rahathra?”

 

The Barbarian backed up the hall some. “You can’t be doing that. The Freeport Militia will get you for that.”

 

The robed figure let down his hood and his eyes glared red for a brief moment before fading back into their pitch-blackness. “Bring them on, but by the time they get here you will be wishing that you were dead. I haven’t had a good skinning partner in a long time.

 

“He left!” The Barbarian scampered onto his feet to face his enemy as close as face to face as he could get. “He didn’t pay his rent and he gave up his place. I remember the bastard now. He left in a real big hurry cause the Militia were coming for him. Probably coming to skin his rotten hide like they are going to skin yours when they hear about this. Slowly and painfully where all the rest of the Iksar can watch you both slowly die.

 

The robed figured smiled and raised his hood again, turning away from the barbarian without a care.

 

“They won’t have to worry about him if I find him first.” With that said he walked right back into the street heading for the docks, leaving the Innkeeper staring out after him as he disappeared into the harbour area and out of sight.

Chapter 5

((Scenes of foul language and suggestions of violence present))

 

Sharukthra was not the type of person that liked to go back to his past and relive or experience it over again. This was especially true with visits to Freeport, but he was curious if the feeling that he was getting was indeed what he thought it was. He resisted and put it off as long as he could, well the was at least until Nihthin Windblown had made the suggestion that he wanted to go to the dreaded place to learn where Chie and himself came from. The opportunity was too great for him at that point and he encouraged the Warden into committing to the trip with himself and Chie. When Nihthin mentioned that Dyrna wanted to come as well, well Sharukthra just nodded and said sure to it not realizing that he would be putting yet another life at risk to the Freeport Militia if they were caught.

 

The closer they got to Freeport the more Sharukthra could feel the presence and it worried him slightly although he made it seem like nothing was bothering him to his group. He carried on conversation, laughed and made sure everyone was okay along the way. Meeting up with Dyrna at the Crossroads they then started off towards the city. Sharukthra and Chie made sure everyone understood how things were going to be when they got inside. Sharukthra would run point and distract as many guards as he could round up as the three of them were lead by Chie to the scribe shops where all the books on each race were kept. Dyrna was wanting every book where Nihthin was just looking for Sebalisian and Ratongan. Well that and to have a look around those parts of the city to see if could learn more of the culture. Sharukthra wasn’t too sure about this part or the journey. Nihthin had accepted Sharukthra with open arms and had said once before that every Iksar he had met was nice.  He obviously was blinded by it and had made the conception in his head to be as such, cause there would not be a single Iksar in the Scale Yard that would not like him as a Thrall. The Warden could make any one of them happy for awhile too at the right price…..

 

Sharukthra shook his head and removed the thought from his head. There were something  about Freeport that was just tainting to be around and put some of those thoughts into his head. It was unusual for him, he didn’t have a real evil bone in him he thought…. Or did he? Quite frankly, if his grandfather was as evil as he seemed by the stories he had read and been told there was a good chance that it was very possible for Sharukthra to fall into the habit. He had no real desire to do that. He was a guardian and had a job to do. One he was going to have to get started here.

 

Again he stated to everyone that he was going up first and then Chie and then the other two. When he called down that it was clear, they would make their break for it. With that he nodded to Chie with a grin and took off up the Sewer hole and into Temple Street, their first stop.

 

“Clear” he called down the grate before he felt the shiver up his spine and backed away from the grate looking into the street.

 

He had been here. He knew it. He was not sure how he knew it, just that he did. There was a really strong residual feeling of his presence here and it was creeping him out a bit. The roaming guard saw him and yelled out to him.

 

“You!” she screamed and came running towards him. “Death to the Traitor! Death to the enemies of Lucan!” Well she was right about the last part at least. He grinned and waved at her before tearing off down the street and around the corner of one of the buildings. She gave and he weaved down towards the Inn. The door looked recently repaired and the Innkeeper was just looking up from something he was doing with a Ratonga when he saw him coming towards him.

 

“Oh no… Go away! I don’t want him to come back here! I am not seeing you here!” and he dove into the Inn and slammed the door shut.

 

The commotion was enough to have Sharukthra slow down and the guard caught up to him. Coshing him over in the back of the head and knocking him out cold.

 

Sharukthra woke up outside of Freeport. They hadn’t killed him, all his stuff was still on him and he was not being tortured and questioned on his return. He got up and dusted himself off. He was going to have to go back there on principle and ask her about that. So off he went to rejoin up with the others and do jus that, ask questions. Sharukthra style.

 

The trip back was fast. He was glad that Nihthin had given him the blessing of the wolf before he had started and the Warden was waiting for him at the Temple Street sewer grate. They talked a bit before the rest of the crew got back to them, most reinforcing the fact that Sharukthra and Chie were here cause they wanted to help, and that they were all going to be fine.

 

With everyone back it turned out that Nihthin had gotten his book but Dyrna had to escape before the guards caught him. This was working out perfectly for the Iksar, he could get back to that guard and ask her about his non-demise. With another smiling nod at Chie he took off up into Temple Street yelling down a clear. It wasn’t hard for him to  track down his guard again. In fact she was wandering back towards the Inn when he caught up to her and tapped her on the shoulder. She turned around right into Sharukthra’s breastplate and then realized that she was way to close to draw her weapon on him. She went to back up but the large Iksar grabbed her sword arm and held her fast, and kept her close to him.

 

“You could just crush her like a can of sardines…” a deep voice said in his head.  It faded as the guard whimpered a bit. He looked down at where his hand was and noticed that the armour was starting to give away and dent under his grip. He loosened it a bit but and looked back at her. “Why didn’t you take me to the prison for interrogation?”

 

“I should have killed you myself, maybe I would get a reward for it.”

 

“From who? Lucan?”

 

“Hell no. He doesn’t pay us extra for doing our job but maybe the guy looking for you would.”

 

“Who?”

 

The guard chuckled “In fact he kinda looks like you. Not that all you scaled ones don’t already look the same to us but he is a mean son of a bitch and I hope he catches up with you.”

 

Sharukthra’s grip had slipped a bit more and the guard slipped away and drew her sword on him. He blinked noticing his error and raised a brow at her. “You going to take me to prison this time?”

 

She paused for a moment considering it and then her eyes went a bit distant, looking past the Iksar. She swallowed hard and shook her head “No…. get out of here…quickly before I change my mind.”

 

Sharukthra looked behind him and caught a glimpse of a green cloak going around a corner, he turned to go see when he felt the familiar thunk on the back of his head, telling him that he was going to black out again.

 

Sharukthra woke up outside of Freeport again. “Shoulda crushed her like a sardine.” The voice emanated in his head again. He decided to try and answer it.

 

“Who are you to be saying what I should or should not do?”

 

The voice chuckled maniacally. “Your salvation, torture or death. Your choice of course.”

 

Sharukthra took off towards the Freeport sewers again. “I am not interested in your games. Either come out and get me or shut the hell up.”

 

“Spoken more like a true Iksar. I accept.”

 

Sharukthra realized what he had just done and ran faster towards the Sewer grates. Hopefully they would get out of here quickly before the vice did show up, or worse, capture one of his friends.

 

They were all fine as he got back to the grate that he had been using. He smiled relieved and pointed at the next ladder down the way. “Shall we go see my old place?” and with that he went up the sewer to the ladder.

 

The Scale Yard was a bit trickier for him to navigate guards around. There were a lot of stairs and narrow streets with no real openings besides where the fountain was itself. Quickly deciding on his course of action he nodded to the group and took off up the ladder and into the street, quickly yelling a clear before taking off up the street. If he was lucky…

 

“Death to the enemies of Lucan!” Yeap. They were at the top of the first set of stairs. “Oh shit! Not you! Why the hell did it have to be you?”

 

Sharukthra bowed as he shot past them and down the street with the guards following in tow. “Let me guess… you missed me or was it the other half of my family that you are scared of.”

 

The guards were still chasing him, Other Iksar paused in the street and watched him smiling as he ran past them. They knew, they all knew what he was doing here. “Shut up and get back here so we can gut you for the reward.”

 

“Let me think about that… Mmmmmmm, no!” The Iksar ran towards the docks looking at the bell and the leaving ferry. Leaping, he landed on the ferry and turned smiling to wave at the guards. The smile was short lived and his hand paused in mid wave as he saw the dark green robed Iksar standing on the dock grinning at him and then turning back towards the Scribe shop. “No!” He went to jump but the large gates of Freeport closed right before him and he was outside again.

 

He wasted no time at all running back to Freeport. There was none to spare. If that was him, no doubt he was going after Chie and the others. It was then that his amulet spoke into his head letting him know that everyone was fine.

 

Shar? You okay? It was Nihthin.

 

“Yes,” He took a deep breath and let it out. “I am alright. Is everyone else okay?”

 

The others responded and Sharukthra smiled as he got back into the sewers thinking about how many years he just lost off of his natural life. “Good I’ll be right there.”

 

Returning he found the others getting ready to figure out where they were going next. Long Shadow Alley it seemed was the most likely and Sharukthra grinned. “Inkies it is.” Sharukthra had played with the guards here before. There was only one way to deal with this guy. Make him look as ridiculous as you can in front of a large crowd. The center grounds would do for that. With that he took them up and cleared the way for them. The guard was not hard to find. He spotted Sharukthra and thought for a moment before yelling after him

 

“Halt! You are a wanted criminal! Put your weapons down and come here!” Sharukthra ran. “You leave me no choice then! Death to the enemies of Lucan!” and he ran after the Iksar. Sharukthra took him out into the center of the square and made a beeline for the destroyed knowledge portal. Then he duck around it and started to run in a circle around it. The guard, not paying attention to where he was going focusing only on his pray, chased after him. Sharukthra laughed and waved at the merchants who just shook their heads in dismay and watched on as he ran around the portal again and again and again the guard following. He saw Chie, Nihthin and Dyrna stop and watch him and they were laughing, it looked like they were done and heading for the sewer. That left him with only one thing to do. He took off down the nearest hallway and sprinted for the ferry again. He worried about seeing the robed figure again or running smack into him on his run out but he never saw him. He made it to the ferry and jumped on the guard giving up the chase and turning back as soon as he hit the docks. Sharukthra worried about that a bit. Had the robed figure really paid off the Militia or scared them that bad that they were leaving him alone?

 

He was dropped off at the Freeport docks and he made his way to the Crossroads making sure again that everyone was okay and telling them of where he was going to be. They were still chuckling over the fast one he had pulled off on the guard and he was pleased that they could get a bit of humour out of Freeport. Dyrna insisted that he was going to stay in Freeport for a bit longer himself but Nihthin and Chie had quite enough adventure for the day.

 

When they finally met up with Sharukthra at the Crossroads, he was waiting for them quietly and after a small make sure that everyone was doing okay and was ready to leave, they started to walk off to the griffon tower and on their way home again. Sharukthra took one look behind him at the Crossroads, not really sure why he wanted to but soon realized that he was being watched. On the top of the wall, sitting, smiling and waving was the dark robed Iksar.

 

“Have a nice trip. Don’t forget to think of me in your nightmares.” The voice said quietly in his head before laughing and going away, slowly.

 

Sharukthra shivered and looked ahead towards home. He would be glad to get away from here and he hoped to anyone listening that his grandfather would not follow.

Chapter 6

The green hooded Iksar had been following his great grandson for sometime wondering where he was shacking up for his evenings. If he had left Freeport he had to have moved somewhere. The information had been easy enough to come by for how he got out of Freeport. He had fallen into a game of assassinate the Leader of the city. A brave move for his great grandson but utterly foolish at the age that he choose to do it. Cazic would have loved to have seen the pain that would have ensued for the attempt. The torture alone would have been, the Iksar shivered at the thought, wonderful.

 

It was nightfall in the Thundering Steppes which worked to the Iksar’s advantage while he followed the guardian through it. He hadn’t noticed him yet and this was good. He figured it was all of the heavy armour he was wearing that was deafening him. He was making enough noise to wake the dead and had. The hooded Iksar watched as Sharukthra pounded on what seemed like a dozen undead before he got to a set of massive gates. The gates to Antonica. The hooded Iksar frowned. He hadn’t shacked up in Qeynos had he? That would be disappointing. Freedom from one slave to slavery in another place. He had heard of Qeynos and it’s people. They were nice and friendly and all Tunare and Marr friendly. It made him almost wretch from the thought. Maybe his great grandson was torturing himself after all, being around that entire nicety nice people thing that they did.

 

He leaped off his mountain top landing silently and walked through the gate and into Antonica. It wouldn’t hurt to at least look around the place which was too bad. He was hoping it would hurt a lot.

 

 

Sure enough Sharukthra went right up to the gates of Qeynos where even the guards at the door saluted him as he went by. It was odd to see. The humans actually saluted an Iksar? What had his great grandson been up to, to get people to acknowledge them as his equal or superior. A grin crept up on his face. He had to have dominated himself over them somehow, they were afraid of him. He could smell it on them. Afraid but calm about it. It was interesting to him… very interesting.

 

Waiting till Sharukthra disappearing into the gates he went up to the gates himself, confident like that he would have no troubles getting in. The guards eyed the robed figure as he approached.

 

“Halt. Who are you? You are not a familiar to this area.”

 

“Hundreds of people come through here all the time. You can not tell me that you know every face that comes here?” The Iksar smiled under his cloak showing a few teeth.

 

“Show your citizenship!” The guard was more forward and took a step towards the unknown individual.

 

He waited until the guard was almost on top of him before he nodded. “Alright.” There was a flash as a part of his robe flickered and a throwing star imbedded itself into the guard still at the gate, lodging itself in his throat making it impossible to scream for help. He grabbed the guard that was on top of him  and pulled him towards himself putting his fist  in the way of the guard’s Adam’s apple. The guard fell down lifeless infront of him, the mark of the Freeport Citizenship ring imprinted in his throat. “Satisfied?” He grinned evilly and walked over to the other guard who was holding his neck, trying to keep the blood from rushing out. “Aren’t you lucky I’m not just a spy wandering around your city.” The guard choked a bit and tried to take a noble swing at the Iksar but missed completely.

 

“Consider yourself invaded.” There was a more sinister grin and a flash in his eyes that the guard saw and tried to stumble backwards but it was too late. A clawed foot connected with the guards jaw and he was thrown into the wall with a crack as his head banged off the stone wall. He fell limp, the blood now flowing freely from his throat and the invader nodded satisfied. “I guess that’s a yes, I can go in then.” And with the he entered the city of Qeynos with a dead run past the next set of guards and their dogs.

 

There was little time to react. The guards charged and the dogs were chasing him, nipping at his heels. The robed figure laughed and pulled off his cape, stuffing it into a backpack and exposing all of his Iksar self in light armour. He did not let up on his running either. There were some screams and the sound of an alarm went off as he rushed down the street looking for his exit. Another set of guards started after him as he turned another corner and made sure he stayed away from the castle. Protective of their queen, how nice of them. It wasn’t what the Iksar was after though. Out of the corner of his eye he saw his escape route and he bolted for it. The dogs were howling in frustration and still chasing him. Guards were shouting at him to stop, calling him Freeport scum and all. He would not be caught, not today he grinned and flipped open the sewer grate in front of him. He waved at the guards and did a backwards flip with a half twist into the sewar disappearing from site.

 

Two guards leaned over the edge and were about to go after him when a half a dozen stars flew right past their noses. By the time they got up the nerve to look again, the Iksar was long gone into the deep and dark sewers of Qeynos.

Chapter 7

Sharukthra had heard the reports early the next day and could not believe what he was hearing. Rumours of an operative from Freeport having killed a Qeynosian guard and then escaping capture by heading into the sewers. It meant that he was still probably in the area. That wasn’t the most disturbing thing to Sharukthra. He had felt that powerful evil feeling that he had before and it was close, too close to be ignored. The other guards that had given chase gave a description of a darker scaled Iksar that looked very much like he did but in leather armour. There was no doubt in his mind that his grandfather was in town, and was looking to collect his head, and he doubted he was going to take it back to Lucan for a reward. His grandfather would do it for free, out of spite of warriors, let alone warriors that slept with things outside of their breed. Sharukthra looked over at the empty spot that was Chie’s half of the bed. She was out there, probably in the craft house. He wouldn’t dare go in there and try anything funny. No, if he was going to do anything, he was going to do it away from prying eyes and the attention of the guards. That way he could be as slow and painful as Cazic would want in an Iksar of the old world. Sharukthra shivered at the thought thinking back to his time with the guards of Freeport oh so long ago.

 

Strapping his sword to himself he headed out and for the sewers. If anyone could save Qeynos from a monster like his grandfather, it was him and the gods help everyone if he couldn’t stop him.

Chapter 8

Ratonga for Thought

There had to be better way to travel around Qeynos then the sewers. It was clean down here but there were rather a lot of other things that wanted to see what Iksar tasted like. Nothing had been a challenge to him but it was still rather annoying. If there was only a way to travel around Qeynos as one of them for longer then he had been able to when he delivered his package…..

 He was a monk, a monk of Cazic but still a monk never the less. He wondered if he could convince the Qeynosians of that. He had fooled a wizard before into thinking that they were mostly harmless, even convinced him that they had not actually made that potion that he drank that reversed his aging process. If only the kitten had taken it instead. No matter, it was the past and this was the present. Did he have it in him to pull off another great lie. Yes, Cazic would be pleased to see it he assured himself as he went out another grate and into Antonica. Now who was it he had to see about that. He had heard someone before mention the name….. Vishra. Yes that would be the fool he would start with. It was perfect.

*******

 Sharukthra spent what seemed like hours running around in circles. Although he could feel the power and strength level when he was getting closer it was precise enough to follow, definitely not enough to track with. Then as soon as it had gotten strong with him it started to fade and rapidly. His grandfather must have went up somewhere and with the speed in which the power was dissipating he guessed that he had left and went into Antonica. Sharukthra would have to wait until he came back to Qeynos then, and he had a gut feeling that his grandfather would be back, when was another matter.

 Leaving the sewars he shook his head at the guard that was near by.

 “Sorry, I couldn’t find him. I figured that he has fled into Antonica for the moment. Keep your eyes peeled for him to return though. I assume he is not finished nosing around yet.”

 “Right then.” The guard answered back with a salute. It was a weird feeling that Sharukthra got with that, a good weird feeling, but weird never the less. A few months ago the same guard would have asked twenty questions before letting him go but now, now they went to attention and saluted him wherever he went. His work for the Qeynosian Guards was paying off it would seem and it made Sharukthra feel wanted, more so then any other Iksar could possibly have imagined. Such a weird feeling, getting use to being wanted by more then just your best friend and love.

 Stepping up toward the inn the Guardian noticed that his mail box was flagged with having mail in it. Stopping he walked over to it and opened it, taking out a small rectangular wooden box sealed only with a bit of wax. Shrugging he took it with him and went upstairs to his and Chie’s room opening the door and taking a step inside. Chie was out again, no doubt crafting her little heart away. She was getting good, real good at what she was doing, much faster then his Blacksmithing had been coming along.

 Sitting down on the edge of the bed he broke the seal and opened the box carefully, hoping that it was not going to explode in his face. Peering inside he frowned slightly and reached in his heart starting to race just a bit at what he saw. Pulling out the contents he dropped the box his eyes going wide with anger and panic at the same time. He was holding onto a fully skinned Ratonga pelt, exactly like Chie’s……

 “Chie!” He called into his amulet privately as he stood and started for the door wild with anger.

 “Hmmm Shar? What is it you be wanting of Chie so loudly? ” the small cute voice of Chie resonated in his head putting the Iksar at total ease in a heart beat. He took his hand off the door and turned leaning against it and sliding down its entire length until he hit the floor with a small clank.

 “I was just seeing if you were alright my dear.”

 “Cheeehee. Shar worries too much.”

Sharukthra nodded as he looked at the pelt in his hand again. She was right; he worried too much some days. What else could he do though, he was a guardian and he had sworn to protect her. He didn’t know how he could live with himself if he failed her. He took the Ratonga pelt and stuffed it into one of his bags, maybe he could use it for a hilt later and stood himself up again looking into his own mirror. His grandfather would pay for this insult and will pay for even thinking of harming Chie let alone some other poor Ratonga that paid with her life for his amusement. Sharukthra didn’t hear himself hiss with hatred at that one moment but he did……and Cazic heard it with much pleasure.

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