25 Arodus 4715 (Starday) cont.


The remainder of the ride to the Gilded Griffon was filled with more idle chit-chat, which was a brief, but welcome, reprieve from the heavy topics of the last few days. Once we arrived, the maitre-d showed us to the outdoor courtyard. While he never would have said anything aloud, the barely perceptible tilt of his head showed his approval at our freshened up appearances. 

Once more, servants brought us a few small things to eat, as well as the same drinks we had ordered earlier this morning. The staff here was quite excellent, and I could see why the Gilded Griffon was known as the favored establishment of the nobility in Oppara. 

My friends and I didn’t wait long before Lady Morilla and Liria joined us. Lady Morilla had made quite a bit of progress in the last few hours. Her “associates” had discovered where Martella was being held: a warehouse in the Crown Gate District known as the Dignified Repository. Lady Morilla discovered that Princess Eutropia had quite a few aliases that she used to purchase property. One of them was a noble from the defunct House of Dreistov. It is likely Martella was able to use her abilities to produce legal documents proving that there was one last member of the family. It’s quite ingenious actually, using an established family rather than creating a whole new one. 

The warehouse had been purchased when Princess Eutropia was serving as the Ambassador to Andoran, and was used to store her projects. While Lady Morilla was able to provide us with an address, she did not have access to the floorplans of the building. She mentioned that even if she had been able to slice through all the bureaucratic tape and get ahold of them for us, they most likely would have been out of date. A few rumors she ran across while looking into the building hinted that there were most likely quite a few renovations done to the building, including below ground. I felt one of my eyebrows arch up at that. What kind of projects, exactly, was the Princess working on?

Liria had scouted the building, and made note of several “guards” circling the building in pairs, and that they seemed to work on shifts. Lady Morilla told us that her agents were busy with other matters at the moment, and would not be able to help us in our assault against Martella’s kidnappers. Liria, however, said that they would be willing to help serve as a distraction, drawing some of the guards away from the building. 

I, myself, am not terribly familiar with Oppara. While I did attend the Kith, most of my time was spent on campus or attending noble functions with other students, and I didn’t wander the city much. Oliver seemed familiar with the Crown Gate district though. He told us it is a poorer district, filled mostly with warehouses and a few other businesses. The area was known for housing thugs, thieves and the destitute. It is so dangerous that the city guards rarely patrol the area, and when they do it is often in greater numbers than the average patrol. If we cause a fight in the streets, it is unlikely to draw much notice. I frowned at that. I knew that Oppara had districts that were made up of poorer residents, but I didn’t realize that it was so bad that the city guard simply refused to patrol. 

We decided that Lady Morilla’s carriage would draw far too much attention if we took it into Crown Gate, so we decided to walk to the warehouse. Liria went on ahead of us, planning to watch the building and see what the best way to distract the guards would be.

The members of the Taldane Phalanx were still guarding every corner, with a great many patrols on the streets, though I did notice the amount of those patrols waned as we neared Crown Gate. Occasionally a soldier would begin to stop us, but once they took in our attire and got a good look at all of our house crests, they simply let us continue on our way. It seems martial law does not apply to the noble houses of Taldor. While I am glad that we were uninterrupted on the way to our goal, the attack on the senate does have me questioning how freely anyone should be moving about the city right now.

I slowed my pace a bit as we walked past the Kith, watching the students out on the lawn. The air in the yard was somber, which felt so alien. The Kith was always filled with music, singing, and laughter when I was a student there. The silence, even just from passing it on the street, felt oppressive.  My fingers flitted up and brushed the scar around my neck, and I felt a scowl take over my face. My memories of the Kith were happy ones, not marred by future tragedies. The quietness of the campus unsettled me, and strangely felt like a looming shadow over pleasant times. I shook my head, shaking myself from gloomy thoughts as my friends and I continued our journey to the Dignified Repository.

Oliver hadn’t been wrong when he said patrols were scarce in the Crown’s Gate.  I don’t think I saw any soldiers walking the streets as we passed establishments with boarded over windows. We were eyed suspiciously by many of those we passed. The change in the atmosphere between the districts was astonishing, and I doubted that the idea of martial law in the rest of the city had really changed anything here.

Liria met up with us not far away from the warehouse. It was a nice looking structure, in better shape than many of its neighbors. Ivy crept up the walls, and bushes lined the outside of the building. Large double doors took up one of the walls, and there were several other doors around the building as well. Large pipes protruded from the ceiling, and again I wondered what projects Princess Eutropia had inside. 

After a few moments of discussion, we decided that Liria’s distraction would be an attempted break in. The elf ran forward, timing their approach so one of the pairs of guards circling the building would certainly see them. They tried to open the door, and when guards caught them, they looked surprised. They waited a few seconds as the door behind them opened, and the other pair of guards patrolling were drawn back by their comrades’ shouts. Once Liria was sure they had as much attention as they were going to garner, they fled down the street. All four of the guards patrolling the building, as well as two from inside, ran off after them. A few seconds passed before another pair of guards exited the warehouse and began a new patrol around the building. 

Verity and I did our own quick circuit around the building, and decided it would simply be best to get the jump on the new guards patrolling the outside. We did our best to hide in the nearby bushes, which was beyond laughable. Cornelius and Verity got into a quick whispering argument, and as the guards came around the corner, it was obvious that they knew something was going on.

As they came closer to investigate, Verity stood up, and flung a dagger at the closest of the pair. Fleyx let out a quick prayer to Abadar, and her deity answered the call. The second of the two guards was frozen in place by her magic. Oliver came up behind me, throwing a spear at the guard that Verity had already struck with a dagger. The spear hit her in the center of her chest, and she crumbled to the ground. As I began to approach the guards, Felyx rushed past me kneeling down by the girl on the ground, attempting to staunch the flow of blood. I won’t lie when I say I found that rather surprising. Soon Oliver was at her side, and the pair of them managed to save the guard’s life. 

Verity ran forward and tied up the other guard, still under the effect of Felyx’s spell, while Cornelius had taken her weapons. By the time I got close enough to do anything, my friends had the situation well in hand. A quick search of them revealed holy symbols of Norgorber hidden underneath their shirts. This was more than ample proof that they were associated with Imistos’s group of assassins. Norgorber and Thamir Gixx were known associates.

Felyx gave me a disapproving look when I asked why they were bothering to help the girl that had been struck down by the spear. I realize that my friends are not aware of the hardships I endured after the Kith, and what events lead to Cynifrith’s birth. These instilled in me harsh lessons, and a boiling rage and anger that took me a long time to learn to control, and without my faith in Ragathiel, I honestly don’t believe that I would have ever come to master them. Remilliard and I often have differences of opinions when it comes to the faith. He is a paladin, a champion of righteousness, while I, well, I understand the anger that our deity holds in his heart. His anger is more tempered, while mine is more raw. The guilty must be punished. I will not allow evil to be wrought upon the innocent. These two guards, as young as they are, know what choices they made. They chose to throw their lot in with Norgorber, and for me, that is the end of it. People show who they are by their actions, and while yes, evil can be redeemed, it is a rare thing. 

It wasn’t long after this that the magic of Felyx’s spell ceased, and our bound captive was able to move. She looked at all of us warily, though seemed to be ready to surrender as we gathered about her.