Chapter 2

 Last time: It was revealed that the Tiefling had been taking a job out of despair - killing Akmenos, who was in debt to a dangerous gang - and pledged that he did not want to work for the gang any longer. The group decided to help Akmenos, the Inkeep and went to a little fortress of the gang. They split up, Dagnal, Theiastra and Kairon walking to the front gate, being lead inside. Riven instead climbed up a roof and snuck in from the side, Ownka and Andell quickly decided to follow him. They took out two helpless thugs in a dark room, one of them, set afire, falling out the window on a roof, alerting the horses underneath.

Pink Dust

“My mother had been sleeping with the prince, even when my father was still alive! She kept it a secret for over half a century”, Theiastra exclaims theatrically.

Just then, they hear a sudden noise coming from the stables, a thump and startled horses.

“What is going on over there”, the thug asks and gestures towards two other guys walking around behind him in the yard. “Go check on the stables, guys!” And looking at the two new faces who haven’t stated their business yet, he adds: “carefully!”

The two middle aged men go looking, and see some movement on the roof, can’t make out that is in reality their slightly burning comrade falling out the window, so they figure that nothing is wrong.

“It’s a cat”, one of them shouts back.

The older thug nods and gives the intruders another look up and down. “Allright, I’ll get ya to Boos, the boss. He’ll decide what to do with ya” and gives a loud laugh, “Ha!”

And he leads the way towards the main building straight across the yard.

Ownka, Andell and Riven are finally making their way downstairs to see what the rest of the group is up to and possibly support them. The hall is empty so no one sees them. They descend the stairs and come upon another hallway with two doors, one leading into the stables they climbed on. They can hear the horses and smell them. 

Riven leans against the big door, making out the chattering of a handful people inside. He also sees a hidden door in the dead end next to them. 

"Hey, I think this is a hidden door right there" then he remembers to stealth, "oh, and also shhh". 

He finds the hidden mechanism easily and opens the door, revealing a staircase that leads into the cellar. 

Everyone curiously gathers, looking inside. Riven holds them back. 

"Looks like a vault. I better check for traps!" 

Andell lights up the first torch and gets it from the wall, lighting the way down. Both seem eager to go in. 

Ownka is not so sure yet. "Is not to help the others better?"

Riven shrugs. "Ah, they are fiiine. Let's go check this out!" His eyes are sparkling with anticipation. 

"Also", Andell adds, "we don't want to draw attention to us. We are still intruders, if we join them now, they'll be suspicious. We can wait until they need help and go here first. Who knows what treasures will lie here… Something magical, maybe?" 

Ownka grunts slightly and goes with them.

They slowly go down the stairs, Riven in the front, checking for traps, followed by curious Andell and sceptical Ownka. 

"Looks good", Riven declares, not seeing any traps. 

Andell doesn't believe that. No, there's definitely a trap there, he thinks and stays back but before he can warn him, Riven already stepped on the last step triggering it. A bunch of rocks is let loose from a net at the ceiling. Riven is too slow to evade the stones. 

“Owch! Fuckingshitygrr it tore my coat!!”

Andell looks alerted by the loud impact the stones made. "They must have heard this." 

"Yeah", Ownka agrees, "they come." 

"Let's prepare! But first" and Andell quickly steps of the stairs and skips into the vault, "i'm gonna see what is in there hihihi

Ownka goes to the foot of the stairs and readies herself in a fighting stance - in plain sight, prepared to strike whatever is coming down. 

Riven on the other hand feels more at home in the shadows. He hides behind the wall. 

"Hey", he whispers forcefully to the wizard, "but if there is treasure, I am helping you with this!" 

Andell turns around halfway. "Yes, you'll get some" Andell ensures him, then gets on with his exploring. "I am only interested in magical stuff and oddities anyway" 

Down in the cellar are two empty cells and two big chests. Andell notices that one of them has blood splatters around it and it moves as if it is "breathing?! No way!" 

Indeed, two people, a woman and a man with drawn bow are coming slowly creeping downwards. And stare at Ownka, standing in plain sight. 

Riven shoots out from the corner in an instant, throwing his dagger at the man's thigh, then immediately vanishes again, almost as if he never existed in the first place. The stinging blade causes the scout to scream out in pain, which might alert others to come...

Let’s see what Dagnal, Theiastra and Kairon have been up to while that happened...

Dagnals group enters the hall. They see a big, rectangular room with some tables and benches in the front, and a big desk in the back. Over which hang a few banners and trophies. There is a back door to its right, and one door in each of the sides of the room. All are currently closed. 6 people are randomly sitting and standing around, breaking their chatter when they see the unfamiliar faces - and the newling- enter. The big orc behind the desk rises up, no doubt that he is the boss. 

He grunts. "Who are these? Kairon, where is my trophy?" 

The guard that lead them in, quickly rushes up to him and mumbles something. 

"What?!" the orc screams and slaps him. "We don't let strangers in here! They should state their names and business first, you useless shit piece of dumbness!" He kicks the man in his forties to the ground and kicks him again in the stomach. 

The man coughs in an almost unconscious state. 

Dagnals eyes go wide in shock. "Hey stop it!" approaches a bit, as the boss still doesn't stop and stamps her foot down. "STOP hitting him, it was not his fault! I decieved them!" 

The orc now glances over and downwards. "What do you want, small one?" 

"We want you to forget Akmenos' debt and leave him and Kairon alone! This boy will no longer work for you!"

The orc stares in disbelief for a moment, then laughs hysterically. When he regains his posture, he goes on: "He agreed to the terms. He was welcomed here, he knows us now. I will not let him leave." 

A sudden rumbling noise from behind the left door makes him alert. He signals two of his underlings to check. They exit into a hallway. 

"Did you ever have business in Everton?" Dagnal asks out of the blue. 

"Why should I tell you!" 

Eventhough the big, green coloured orc refuses to answer, Dagnal can see that this name is familiar to him by the defensive stance he takes while his eyes widened a bit upon mentioning her town.

Suddenly he starts to scream and spit at his people. “What is more important right now is the rules! We don't! let strangers! in here!” he kicks over his chair in anger and punches his fist into the table before him, pointing at the Tiefling with his other hand. “You! Newling! You had ONE job!”

In this moment, a sudden, shrill scream of pain echoes through the hall, coming from the left exitway. Dagnal immediately turns to the elven woman behind her, their eyes saying: “Oh no! Is it the others?”

Also the boss's attention fades now. He is looking confused. “You two! Go see what is going on there!”

“Hey! Our conversation isn’t done yet!”, Dagnal shouts, as they start getting going.

Theiastra tries to charm the orc by making pretty eyes at him. She is sort of channeling her inner Aphrodite to wink and wave at him cartoon-style. “Hey, muscles”, she utters in a lovely voice.

Unfortunately, she herself is not that flirty and unpracticed and can’t pull it off as nicely as she wanted. The Orc grunts confused, but unaffected by her thin figure. 

The elven bard begins to panic because she is out of her normal environment and just realizes the danger. “Oh god what am I doing?” She remembers a spell and in her panic Throws some green dust at the three thugs hasting towards the door in the blink of an eye. “Just fall asleep”, she whispers to herself, closing her eyes wishfully.

They all fall prone to the ground, snoring.

Then, the elven Bard positions herself behind the other two to hide from the action.

The Orc fletches his teeth and growls as he draws two daggers from his holsters at the sides of his torso. He throws them forcefully at the rude Dwarf, but she is wearing a shiny silver plate armor and matching shield which she uses to protect herself from the impact. the blades just fall off like rain and don’t even leave a scratch. With another, louder growl the Orc spits in her direction.

After this, Dagnal puts away her shield, reaches for Theia behind her and quickly creates a shiny glow around the squishy, unprotected bard while clutching her holy symbol in a respectful way. Then, with her tiny but heavy steps she rushes to the last awake thug on the other side of the hall, draws her lance from her back, gripping it firmly with both hands. She hits the unexpecting thug in the side, using her Lance as a bat. With unforeseen force, she shoves him into the wall behind him. He goes limp and falls to the ground just upon impact. He is now K.O.

Kai steps up to his boss, draws his longsword, reaches up to the blade with his palm and cuts a stream of blood into it. The crimson liquid runs into the center of the blade, filling out some carved-in symbols. He reaches to hit, but the table behind which the orc stands creates a distance the blade cannot fill.

“Your hospitality has been awful”, Theiastra throws in the room from a safe distance, taking an empowered stance, “And also, it stinks like piss in here!”

These words seem to take the Orc off guard, for a second she can see his eyes getting teary. But it vanishes quickly when he draws his scimitar, steps on the table and slashes the blade across Kai’s torso, leaving a cut in his armor. “You disobedient punk!” And another one, deepening the cut into Kairon’s skin. The Tiefling tumbles back, holding the wound with a shocked expression. “Aaugh” He tries to bite away the pain, clenching his teeth visibly.

Dagnal sees this and steps a bit closer to the boy, just so she can barely touch him on the shoulder, concentrates for a bit and releases a bit of golden glow into his wound, which begins to close up in the deepest parts. Kai draws a breath again, decides he is as good as new, even though his wound is still pretty deep, and charges at the Orc again, who is in reach now. He returns the favour, cutting across his unarmored chest. It is not as deep, but the blood from the blade runs into the Orc’s wound, burning him from the inside.

Boos looks very shocked at this trick which he obviously didn’t know his new Assassin could do.

Theiastra’s heart, after being protected from Dagnal and her hurting words, fills with heroism, steps up into reach and throws a dart at the Orc. It hits him in the right shoulder, piercing its muscle. “Yeah”, she cheers her new companion on, “Dagnal you got this! Women power!” Then she steps back into the doorframe, waiting what will happen next.

The big, muscular Orc is not impressed by the tiny dart leaving a piercing mark on his shoulder and he plucks it out like a thorn. He jumps off the table, getting close enough to Dagnal, who has been encouraged by Theiastras chant, and attempts to attack her. 

Because of all the anger and distractions he had to endure from the fragile looking elf he just swings his blade through the air next to the dwarf. But with his second strike he hits her between the ribs in a place where they are not protected by the armor. For a stout dwarven lady, this was but a pinch. 

Counterwise, she is going to swing at him too. For her lance to hit, she has to step a few feet back. Inspired, she rams it into his thigh, attempting to slow him down. The pointy weapon shoots through the thick flesh beside the bone. 

Kai tries to hit him at the same moment, but as he highers his arm the wound widens, sending pulsing pain through his body making his aim shaky. He misses again. 

Back in the vault, now that we have established that no one else who heard the scream is capable of running down. 

Ownka is waiting for one of the guys to walk down to her, readying her greataxe. The one Riven shot is still unable to move but the other one comes at her. Just as he gets close enough, Ownka swings her axe with the flat side down on his head, making a metal sound and knocking him out instantly. She seems impressed and happy by this fun game of hit the mole. 

Riven shoots out of his shadow again, throwing his second dagger in the other thigh of the elf currently holding the wound shut. This dagger doesn't cause a flesh wound like the other one though, it hits the main artery, completely cutting it in half. In just one moment the elf stood up, having removed the hindering first blade, got hit again, a fountain of blood shooting out of his other thigh now running down the stairs like a waterfall. The impact destabilizes him, causing him to tumble, slip in his own blood, falling down the stairs and on the last step turning weirdly and smashing his head on one of the edged stone walls. He is dead. 

"Nice", Ownka remarks lightly, as if such brutality was her everyday life. Riven immediately goes through the pockets of his kill, being a bit hesitant and disgusted by the blood around them. He gently opens the pocket with his shoe, glimpsing several gold pieces inside. Enough making him forget his squeamishness and digging in. He also finds a small diary, flips through it, can't read that language and throws it behind his shoulder with a shrug. 

Meanwhile Andell is attacking the weird chest with a firebolt twice, causing it to burst into flame and burn to ashes in an instant. He hears a faint whining and a screeching sound as the chest opens and vomits its insides. Upon a massive amount of gold pieces, several trinkets, weapons and loots from monsters. 

The other two gather around as well. "Ooh nice treasure", Riven whistles. 

Andell turns around and proudly declares: "I defeated a chest!" 

Ownka and riven look confused. "okayyy…"

Riven notices that the other chest at the wall is locked. But that is not an obstacle for someone with thieves tools and the proficiency in lockpicking. With just one hand motion it clicks open. 

His eyes reflect the sparkle of the gold pieces inside. "goodness gracious! I am rich, guys" 

"technically, we are. You said we should divide all this between us three", Andell reminds him. 

Riven begins to stuff his pockets, but they are full already. He quickly realizes that he can't just stealth away with the money now. 

Andell is so kind and stuffs everything in his bag. 

"We better go to the others now", Ownka pushes. 

They haste to the hall and notice noises of combat from the open door to the main hall, as they can now see, and inside their companions. They run inside, and notice two unconscious people lying on the floor, a guy slammed into the wall on the other side and Kairon and Dagnal fighting an orc while Theiastra just watches from the front door, unsure what to do. 

Theiastra eagerly begins to mumble something towards Dagnal, which should heal her. She then notices the others and rushes towards them, hoping to be protected. "Oh you guys!" 

The orc boss sees them too. 

"Get out of here this is my fortress! Either you leave or I have to shove you" he commands. He then strikes again at Dagnal to prove his point, and again. By the second hit into her already damaged armor, the dwarf falls to the ground unconscious . 

"Oh noooo", Theiastra whines, "we should get out of here!" 

Andell pushes through Riven and Ownka, currently blocking the doorway, and unleashes three magic missles towards the enemy. The first one pierces a hole through his stomach which the other two reinforce. Some blood spills out of his mouth as he grunts. He looks very rough. 

Seizing the opportunity, Kai strikes again, slashing his chest open. The orc barely stands now, a hole and a canyon gashing on his torso. While the orc was occupied getting slashed, Riven snuck up to him from behind and Threw a dagger in his right shoulder blade. The orc moans, eyes and teeth clenched, falls to his knees and then face-first to the ground, motionless. He looks dead. 

"What the hell just happened", Riven exclaims. 

"Oh shit. O nonono", Theia keeps on going, "I shouldn't have wasted all my spells! Dagnal is dead now!" 

"Not dead", Ownka corrects, "yet."

"Really? Maybe we can help, then." Together the two women rush next to their fallen comrade and check Dagnals pulse and try to stabilize her, but neither of them know what to do exactly to help. 

A quiet moan echoes through the hall from beside them. 

Quickly, a glow of hope hushes across the faces of the elf and half orc and quickly it fades again. Because it is not their comrade coming to consciousness but their foe pushing himself up on his knees again with the last bit of strength. 

Kai immediately puts his two swords on either side on his neck, crossing them in front like scissors. With his black eyes he stares into the black soul of the enemy. 

"Leave us be. Forget the debt" his intimidation attempt comes out as a polite suggestion at the very best. 

"You leave!" 

The tiefling lowers one blade so he can reach to his pouch, pulling out the letter. He clears his throat and declares without hesitation: I am terribly sorry to inform you that I’ll have to kill you now, since you have misused our trust and to complete my work. Furthermore I’ll need to behead you and will also take your heart and liver.”

Then he decapitates the head from the neck. 

“How can we save her?!" theias voice cracks a little shouting out. 

Riven loots through the desk and notices a bottle of potion with the tag: "healing potion. 100 GP" 

"here" while reaching it over, he accidentally knocks over an open vial, emptying its pink dusty content all over some book. 

Ownka grabs the potion and Theia tries to read the tag.

 "A healing potion!" she exclaims thankfully. 

Ownka opens it and fills it carefully in dagnals mouth. Her eyes blink and she draws a long breath again. 

"hhhwhat happened?" 

Riven licks his finger and dips it into the dust,then licks it again. He feels a prickly sensation as it dissolves on his tongue. 

"You were knocked out I am so sorry I was out of spells!" 

Riven flicks his tongue. "Kai killed the orc for us. Good job, kiddo." 

"Kairon", he corrects mumbling. 

"Oh my dear god, why?" dagnal stands up again, poking the lifeless green body carefully. "I go unconscious for six seconds and you kill someone?!" 

Kairon shrugs. "What was I supposed to do, he didn't listen. I asked him politely and he still played the big bad evil orc." 

Since it already happened and just because Dagnal couldn't prevent it, she inhales plenty. "I will try my best to overlook this. But you should try other conflict solving strategies in the future.'' She points at Riven, too. 

He doesn't see it, because he is already investigating the place with andell. 

There are two big locked chests behind the desk, which Riven lockpicks open super fast. They have gold in them, documents with seemingly random numbers and unknown script, blood samples and riven takes two daggers and two small packets with more pink dust. 

Andell sees an open closet next to the door, it contains weapons and armor. 

"Should we take everything?" 

"Yeah, yeah", Riven assures, "you can make money out of anything. We can divide it up later. Here, wrap it in this." 

He goes to a sleeping thug and cuts his cloak off with a dagger, then throws it to andell who wraps a nice bento out of the weapons and armor. 

Kairon quickly looks over the orc he killed. "I don't think he has anything" 

"that can't be", riven complains and assists, "he is the boss! Look, you didn't even go through his pockets!" 

Riven empties all nine pockets, even the hidden pocket in the pouch. 

"We should get out of here", the elf urges, "my sleep spell won't last longer than a few minutes!" 

Dagnals keen eyes hear a shout for help from the back room. “Help! Let me out, please!”

She goes up to the door to check. “Who are you?”

“They are holding me captive! Please help me!”

The kind hearted dwarf hears sincerity in the female voice and wants to help, but the door is locked.

Riven comes closer out of curiosity. “Oh hey”, he points to the door that has a sign on it. “They are holding a prisoner in the toilet, ha.”

Theiastra grows more impatient like a toddler needing to use the loo. “Guyyys”

While this is happening, Kairon looks for something specific in the pile of documents stashed in one of the chests Riven lockpicked. He finds a paper and a flask with his name on them, he takes both secretly.

Ownka stomps forward. “Let me do it quick”, and just kicks in the door. The broken wood reveals a scared, young human woman in dirty peasant clothes and shit in her hair. Je just barely stepped out of the way in the last possible moment. The dirt on her face is washed away by tears. Dagnal recognizes her, although the girl grew older.

“Oh god, Bethilda?!”

The young woman is happy to see the dwarf. “Dagnal, is it you?”

They hug each other like a long lost family.

“We have to leave, those guys are waking u-uup”, the elf nudges.

“Yes, let’s go”, Dagnal agrees, “we can go to a nice tavern and talk”

And so they return to the Hell’s Inn.

To be continued...

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