Murder in the Dark

Beyond Dominia: The Role Playing Mill: Murder in the Dark

By Jaron on Saturday, November 04, 2000 - 03:04 pm:

October 10, 794 - TR

Jaron slipped out of the room he shared with Joerda. With the money they had gotten from the unjust sale of his sword, he had rented a room for the week at a small inn within Justice Keep. They had simply rested, forgetting their worries and weariness for a time. But Jaron knew that time was pressing. The Wraith-kin could come any day, searching, hunting...eviscerating.

Or they might come not at all. He couldn't be sure what to make of them. At times during their journey north he had wondered if they were even being followed still, or if they ran for nothing. Joerda was still frightened. He recalled his decision to go to Kaat'n, and wondered if it were folly or not. Kaat'ni reputation had spread far and wide, and Gandalf had shared with him what knowledge he had of that reclusive group.

But their money had now run out, and the time for decision was again upon him. He wasn't gainfully employable without revealing his mute, telepathic nature, for such mysticism was still feared - a remnant of the Black Monolith War-inspired mistrust in magic. If, however, the mage school at Planarth was doing steady business and Kaat'n had chosen to reopen its doors, perhaps he could open up.

No, I must continue on in secret. I cannot have Joerda doing everything for me. Jaron slid under shroud of darkness through the streets of Justice Keep, keeping to the shadows of the moonless night. He would not under good conscience leave without his sword. Strong he had felt its loss, though it was but an heirloom of a lineage only vaguely his.

In his time there, he had set himself to a nocturnal schedule, and had learned the paths of town beneath cover of night. During the day, the incessant voices that filled his mind threatened to drive him mad. His telepathic powers were blown wide open, and he received images, thoughts, intents, and visions all unfiltered, totally unrestrained. At night when all were asleep, he found his situation more palatable.

Tonight was no different. A dull roar was in his mind, the presence of dreams and passions being spent, but it was much reduced. He regretted not being awake when Joerda was, for she needed his attention, but there were things each needed to do so that undue attention would not be drawn to them.

His trip to the gates was quick, and he crept within sight of it easily. Pulling free the dagger he had given Joerda, it gleamed sickly green in the night. I pray I needn't use you, he thought. Sheathing it again, he moved forward, keeping an eye on the three guards before him. It was late in their watch, and they were awaiting their relief to come down and relieve them.

He waited impatiently for a bit, and soon all three went inside the guardhouse to give a formal passdown when their relief arrived. The store-room across the archway was left for a moment unuarded, and Jaron stole inside quickly. It was left open at all times, for it adjoined the barracks further within the walls, and so it was afforded twenty-four hour surveillance.

Off-duty guards were playing at cards, polishing their armor, or tending to their weapons. All were secure and at ease in their home. Never would they expect an attack from within their own town. Any one of them could look through the door across the hall into the store-room, and Jaron would be readily exposed.

Summoning what power he had within him, he sent a blanket over their minds, blocking his presence and allowing him to pass by for just a moment, while they went about their activities oblivious. It took a great amount of personal reserve, and when Jaron reached the store-room, he had to pause for a breath, hiding around the corner of the doorway, out of sight.

Filled with what could be the plundered spoils of similarly ill-gotten gains, the store-room was laden with crates and boxes of untold treasures. All were undoubtedly kept secret from the ruling body of Dantimos, hidden and retained for the dispensation of the soldiers. Despite the orderliness with which they stripped items from the needy, Jaron found a distinct lack of organization.

A bag of gems lay half-open, inviting theft if it hadn't already occurred. Books lay upon shelves and boxes, while some boxes were open and others were nailed shut. Upon a brass pedestal shone a particularly bright, brilliantly cut diamond, free for the taking if it weren't within plain view of the barracks. And there, leaning against the wall next to it, was Jaron's Oor-Taelian sword.

The guard who had confiscated it obviously had just thrown it into the store-room, finding no value in it. It was thin and light, lending the perception of frailty when compared the hefty, dull sabers the guards wielded. Thought no more than a toy to pawn off on someone else, it had ultimately been discarded here until a tidy profit could be made.

Not forgetting his need for caution, but too exhausted to care, Jaron walked to the sword and grabbed its belt, strapping it to his waist. Within moments, a call went out, and he was spotted by the guards. Though the store-room was only half-lit, enough lumination was provided to reveal his silhouette. He bent into their minds for a moment more, and walked right between the entering warriors, pushing them aside until he was free. Several soldiers looked at one another, thinking each in turn had been pushed by another of his comrades.

He ran from the gates speedily, soon dropping the exhausting mind block. Perhaps it was the irony of fate, but as he did so, the very guard who had taken the sword from him stepped from around a corner and saw him standing there with the sword, panting.

"Ho now! What's this I see? Come to fetch your pretty sword again, boy?" Iron rang free as the guard unsheathed his sword. "No one goes armed in the city but the guards. You are in violation of the law. I demand that you turn that sword in, or it shall go ill with you."

Jaron pulled his sword to the ready in defiance. No turning back now... The guard brought his sword forward, delivering a slash at Jaron's midsection. With a half practiced, half improvised turn, Jaron deflected the blow. Enraged, the guard pressed the attack, and it was all Jaron could do to parry the guard's savagery. Brutality turned swiftly to weariness, but Jaron was in no condition to attack back, so stinging was his arm from supporting the fragile-seeming sword.

Mana tickled at his brain, suggesting its use. He refused. When the guard stopped to take a breath, he lowered his weapon after seeing his opponent wasn't likely to do much. In the darkness, Jaron pulled free the elven dagger which now gleamed menacingly in the dark, and a swift bout of madness took him. He caught the guard unawares, stabbing him in the stomach between the plates of his armor. Jaron was amazed at the trueness of the aim, for the slit he had penetrated was actually quite small. The guard collapsed dead in under a minute, victim to the dagger's cursed poison.

Jaron felt the shock of recognition settle in. I just killed a man! He fled then, fearful that the short battle had been heard by other eager guards. Returning to his room, he found Joerda asleep, and he roused her.

{Come, we must go now. I've killed a guard, and they shall arrive soon looking for me. We cannot stay, or they shall find us!}

"What did you go do that for? " she asked, half asleep.

{There's no time to explain. Get dressed!} he urged.

They rushed away in the dark to the gates, finding little out of order yet. Jaron kept the sword hidden behind his cloak, not wanting anyone to see him with it inside the walls of the town. When they reached the gates, they hid behind somw bushes, and Jaron tapped into that strange well of power, peering with his mind to find the number of guards in the guardhouse. He sent impulses to each, an impetus of action that would keep each busy at the same instant, all turned from the door. Once all was ready, he pushed Joerda in front of him and they quickly left Justice Keep and scurried off into the night.

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