The morning sun rose blood red across the horizon, a common occurrence in recent years. Black clouds swirling around the mountain where the heart of worlds lay undisturbed for none dare venture there. Looking out into the streets the snow had risen another inch in the night, snowflakes falling continuously from the sky.
The city of Alata once stood proudly, but now the bustling streets were a mere trickle of what it used to be. Early shops had just started to open, the smell of baking bread wafting down the streets. Six years later life went on, mundane. Simple folk for the moment, blissfully unaware of the dangers that will befall them.
Ethan Blackwell crept into the taverns bedroom, cautiously checking the lock and door for poisoned needles and other booby traps. Satisfied that there was nothing dangerous the young man slithered into the room. His eyes already adjusted to the dim morning light took quick note of what was in his room nothing was out of place, the window was still locked and the door had seemed un-tampered with when he walked in. But there on the beds headboard was a piece of torn parchment pinned to the dark wood with a small throwing knife only about an inch long.
The writing on the parchment was tight and nearly illegible but was still recognisable as the familiar scrawl of Master Solomon. Just a terse message was left for the young assassin.
“See me, now.”
Trawling through the snow, now dressed in a simple blue tunic and fur trimmed coat, the hood pulled over his face least anyone was watching. Eventually reaching Master Solomon’s archery store, the worn looking building a mere show for the public, it was what lay inside that counted.
Pushing open the front door the bell rang invitingly, Rows of bows and crossbows and every type of arrow imaginable hung on the walls. His master was already waiting for him; a sadistic smile on his face, his greying hair was tied with a pony tail at the nape of his neck, his chin having nearly a fortnights stubble on it. “Good Morning boy, hope you got enough sleep, I’ve got another job for you.”
Scias was sleeping when the frantic knocking came on his door, followed by the shrill squeal of his sister Lucille “Scias!! Please wake up!” his eyes flickered open, suddenly awake. Almost automatically he grabbed his sword Abalria, the weapon reflecting the small amount of light coming through the window.
He flung the door open to see his sister in tears, her bright blue eyes sore and her face wet from crying. He stood there in his boxers, but saw no attacker, just his sister in her snow white nightdress. Placing his sword up against the door frame, he took his older sister into his arms, her tear stained face against his bare chest.
“It’s Anteon...” she whined before he could ask, her breath coming out in short huffing gasps. “Please come see... I don’t know what to do...”
The walk to Anteon’s room seemed to last an age, Scias was already dreading seeing his younger brother before the door to his room was pushed open, but seeing it was so much worse. The boy’s mop of blond hair was plastered to his head, his shivering body covered with sweat, and itchy skin. His blue innocent eyes looked up at his brother. He coughed, “Scias.... I don’t feel too good.... ”
The plague had come knocking at his door.
Nefireous was already up and about, the harbour a throng of early birds. Shipping crates being loaded onto huge ships. Ships built for war, for fishing, cargo ships, and fancy royal transporters. She let out a slight sigh looking around, sea birds cawed our in the morning din, but there was nothing of interest here.
This whisper, this wanting of something inside, the name ‘Siren’, It was beyond comprehension, but still the drawing of it had taken her across to the mainland to this very city, to this harbour. And now she was at a dead end. It felt like she was in the right place, but part of her felt silly for travelling this far on a whim.
The winter chill bit at her exposed skin, so close to the ocean there was nothing to stop the violent winds howling around the dock. A gruff voice shook her out of her day dreams, “Siren wants everything loadin’ up this mornin’, said he sets sail tonight as the sun sets.” Her eyes found a couple of burley men standing next to a tower of wooden crates.
“Ye must be joking!” the other one exclaimed, “sunset? This has to be loaded by sunset? If it’d anyone else i’d give ‘em a piece of my mind!”
“Yea right, if it was anyone else, you’d ask their missus to give them a piece of your mind for you” They both laughed heartedly looking at the task at hand.
Severus woke up, the red sunshine a sliver through the gap in the curtains, his keen navy blue eyes flickered around the tavern bed room, the wooden interior was simple and cheap, a fur carpet the only real decor in the room. And a stone basin that had been filled with hot water. The young man sat up, it was a charming cosy little room... but it was a room he didn’t remember renting for the night... In fact he didn’t remember anything from last night the entire evenings escapades a black stain in his memory.
His clothes had been thrown around the room, as he lay under the wool sheets in his boxers. He sat up and leaned against the headboard, a full length mirror in the corner of the room was cracked; the glass spider webbed outwards, like someone had punched it. Severus’s head was pounding, the after effects of drinking copious amounts of alcohol. That must be why he can’t remember a damn thing...
’Good Morning sleeping beauty...’ A deep menacing voice chuckled, it held a sadistic lint, a condescending vicious tone. ’It’s about time you woke your ass up!’
[Iris] (sorry it’s a little short... I was struggling to bring you in)
The ogre had taken up residence in the stable on the edge of the city, finding only one man kind enough, or maybe it was out of fear, half an cow had been given to the ogre the night previous, of which there was nothing left but blood stained dirt and straw He rolled over on the dirty grass mattress he had made himself, the fast falling snow falling into his bed, chilling his toes. His stomach rumbled loudly, and he heard a small gasp coming from the door of the stable.
“I can’t go in there” One man whispered, “You hear things about ogre’s.... I don’t care what the Royal’s say, it shouldn’t be asked to go!”
“Stop being a whimp” the other man replied in a hushed whisper, “He’s a mercenary-”
“HOW DO YOU KNOW IT’S HIM”
“shhhh don’t wake him, I don’t want him to wake angry! How many Ogres’ do you see waltzing around Alata?”
“Good point.... So what do we do?”
“Wait till he wake’s up and ask him?”
Garrath was already awake, and reading a letter that had been delivered by royal courier this morning. His reputation as a healer had obviously spread just far enough to get him noticed. The purple ink stained the parchment in elegant loops and crosses, he had already broken the wax seal and read the letter eagerly.
I have heard of your escapades and wish to ask you for your assistance. The plague has spread to my city, and even with all my efforts I have yet to find someone who can stop it.
I am gathering together a team; people who I hope can help before this infernal disease travels any further. With them I’ve sent a mage Amber Serria, she thinks has an idea of how to stop this plague, and where originated.
There is a ship in the harbour, the Red Dragon, Captained by a Man called James Siren and his family, I’ve bought his services for a time. He should take you to where you need to go.
They sail tonight; I hope you see it fit to join their plight.
King Rhoury III
Erederis was already up and about, he’d been walking the woods outside of Alata for about an hour now, finally stopping to snack on a piece of fruit from his pack. He sighed loudly, and leaned against a tree, sinking to the snow covered earth. He missed Magdolin, a huge empty space had just been left inside of him.
He glanced up quickly as he heard footsteps coming closer. Definatly human, male... just the one person... His eyes met those of a pair of deep rich brown. “Erederis?” the man queried, clumsily wading through the undergrowth to get to the druid. He broke into a smile, and offered his hand to help Erederis to his feet. “I been looking all ov’a for you,” He exclaimed pulling the man up.
“Captain Siren’s in port,” The name rang a distinct bell, it was the ‘kindly’ pirate who had helped them escape the fall of Alexandria, and returned Magdolin and Erederis to the mainland. “He’s been wanting to see you again, while he’s about. ” The messenger grinned with a gap toothed smile. “You comin’? It’s an honor to dine with the Captain’s.”