Homicide in the Hamlet

Khaine watched as his fellow watchman bashed down the door to the small log cabin in the hamlet of Selûnesglenn, a few miles North of Daggerford. Struggling to get a better view past the large frames of Corporal Krieger and Lieutenant Murivial into the room, he caught a glimpse of a tiefling’s horned head, covered in blood. The two men in the doorway stood still while they looked on the scene, a tiefling apparently holding a bloodied body in his arms. Suddenly the Lieutenant drew his sword screaming “MURDERER!” and driving the blade into the tiefling’s neck and down into his ribcage.

Khaine finally entered the room, his silvery scales glittering in the dim lamp light, only to find his best friend, the tiefling Sethanon, on his knees gurgling to breathe as a sword hilt jutted awkwardly out of his throat, and Watch Captain Marth’s dead and bloody body on the floor before him. Time seemed to stand still for the dragonborn as he took in the scene, too stunned to act. He barely registered the Lieutenant barking orders to the other watchmen as they rushed around him. Khaine knelt to his friend, hoping to do something to help him, but could only watch in tears as he felt the body grow weaker. Sethanon’s fiery-red eyes flecked with sparks of orange looked pleadingly for help into Khaine’s.

****

Valleth had been out hunting that afternoon. Though there were other folk who lived the in hamlet, he sometimes traded with the other drow of Selûnesglenn, some of which were refugees of various Lloth cults from the underdark who found a new way through Eilistraee, others were just looking for a place they could live in peace on the surface. Some of the non-drow were simply trying to live a secluded life for one reason or another. Most people on the surface would confuse him with his rather well-known grandfather due to his dark skin and purple eyes. They would either ask too many questions or accost him for some trifle his grandfather once did or another. The people of Selûnesglenn knew better than to ask questions and Valleth respected that. More than once he’d been invited to stay in the hamlet on a more permanent basis but he always turned them down, preferring the solitary lifestyle. Tonight, he could hear a commotion in the hamlet square as he brought in the furs he had harvested that week. He dropped the bundle of furs and ran into the square to see Waterdeep watchmen rounding up the inhabitants of the hamlet into the hamlet’s communal barn. One of the watchmen finally spied the drow and ordered him to join the others which he reluctantly complied.

“Valleth! Please! Can you do something? We don’t know why they’re here or what they want. They’re acting more like thugs than watchmen!” pleaded Drake, a fellow drow of the hamlet. Valleth could only wonder why watchmen from Waterdeep were accosting them so far away from their city.

“Wait here. I’ll find out what’s going on.” replied Valleth before looking around for someone in command. He noticed one of the watchmen with shinier bits on his armor walking out of a house with one of his cohorts. Valleth approached the man with purpose and balled fists and a fire building in his belly.

“Why are you here city boy!” the drow said through clenched teeth but trying to remain as calm as he could. “You’re a little far…” he attempted to say while the man looked him up and down before the watchman haughtily interrupted him.

“Krieger, arrest this thing. He’s probably the person who summoned that demon in the first place.”, said the watchman, his elven eyes barely hiding his contempt.

Valleth was momentarily shocked by the order. The large watchman next to the elf had moved too quickly and Valleth found himself easily over-powered as the man wretched his arm behind him and forced him to his knees. The elf bend over him with a smirk.

“I am Lieutenant Murivial and you will tell me where the Black Foxes are hiding.” Valleth could stare back at the elf in confusion. “There’s no use in denying it drow. It was bold of you to return to the scene of the murder. Tell me, why did you order the demon to kill the Captain? Did someone pay you!?”

“What?” Valleth simply could not even begin to process the insanity coming from the elf’s mouth.

“Krieger, strip him of his gear and tie him to the message post in the square.” The elf said, pointing to the large wooden post in the center of the crossroad in the hamlet. “We’ll… interrogate… him later” he continued with an self-satisfied grin.

***

Khaine could hear the chaos outside as he tried to figure out what was going on, but the minutes never registered, while his friend lay bleeding out in his arms. Time seemed to stand still as he sobbed softly over him. None of this made any sense. Sethanon was supposed to meet with the supposed agent from Bregan D’aerthe on behalf of the Black Foxes, the gang distributing traveler’s dust in the slums of Waterdeep. Lieutenant Murivial and his crew were supposed to barge in, arrest the two of them, and then interrogate the agent to find out their distribution network. Captain Marth wasn’t even supposed to be here, he was supposed to be waiting for their return in Daggerford with the Bregan D’aerthe agent in tow.

“I’m sorry Seth, I should have been there for you. We never should have taken this job from Captain Marth.”

Suddenly, Khaine could feel the Sethanon’s body tense up before the tiefling began grunting wildly. The dragonborn then watched in horror as Sethanon grasped the hilt of the sword jutting out of his own throat and began to slowly pull the blade out. The tiefling’s face at first seemed to be in pain but it slowly morphed into that of anger and rage.

“By Tempus! Seth! I can’t heal you! What can I do!?” the dragonborn asked helplessly, horrified at what he was witnessing. The tiefling only grunted while gesturing with his flaming-red eyes towards the sword. Realization dawned and Khaine quickly stood up before his friend as he grasped the hilt of the sword. “Ok, on three…” he said urgently before pulling out the sword on the count of two.

The tiefling fell to his knees with a loud groan, hitting his head on the floor and his hand over his throat. He turned his head towards the dragonborn with a bloody cough before he managed to croak out “I… didn’t… do… it….” He struggled to focus his eyes for a moment, “I…  I… wisssshhh…. Haaaaa………” The tiefling let out one more gasp before going limp.

Khaine’s mind reeled. His friend, his brother in arms, dead by the hand of someone who was supposed to represent order in an act of pure… cowardice. With the Lieutenant’s sword still in his hand, he marched out the door, tears and murder in his eyes.

***

Valleth groaned as the fist on the end of a heavily corded arm tried to tickle his spine through his naval with its knuckles, knocking the breath out of him.

“Tell me, drow, who else is working for the Black Foxes!?” the elf spat. “Give me NAMES!”

Teary-eyed from the pain, it was all Valleth could do just to breathe after that gut punch, especially with a broken nose. “I *cough* I don’t know. Who the fuck are the black foxes?” he managed to cough out, dangling in front of the post with his hands tied above him.

The Lieutenant only sneered at this, “The Captain came here to meet a drow and, lo, a drow appears. Unless it’s one of the farmers….” Lieutenant Murivial then looked sharply to the muscular mass named Krieger then said, “They’re all conspirators then.” He pointed a finger and Krieger, “Round up every… single… person…” he said slowly, enunciating tersely every word, “into the barn. Tie them up. We’ll close the f*cking doors on them and this… thing… can reconsider its situation while the their screams go up in smoke.” The broad man simply nodded before gesturing to the other two watchmen who had already gathered most of the hamlet’s residents. It didn’t take them long before the screams of the villagers inside began echoing through the forest.

Valleth could only grimace in anger and despair as he could hear the voice of Drake and others calling out to him. Drake’s words, “You were supposed to help us Valleth!” remained burned in his mind. Other voices from within cursed his name. A moment later the barn was fully ablaze and the screams were replaced by the roar of flames.

With a satisfied smirk, Lieutenant Murivial turned his face towards Valleth, saying nothing.

“I’ll fucking kill you.” groaned the hunter, piercing the elf with daggers from his violet eyes.

The elf chuckled to himself, “I hardly matters now drow, I got what I came for. The good Captain Krastis Marth wasn’t supposed to die today but the Black Foxes will get what’s coming to them.”

Valleth looked up at him questioningly, “What? I was just a… a… what. An excuse for you!?”

Murivial laughed then leaned in close to Valleth’s face, “You were so much more, serendipity at its finest. Thankfully, you won’t be alive long enou….” Suddenly Lieutenant Murivial was forcibly spun around as a silver dragonborn drove the elf’s own sword into his scrawny neck, down into his chest cavity. A single bloody cough erupted from the elf’s mouth before his lifeless body slid down to the ground.

Valleth could only dangle from his bindings, looking confused at the dragonborn, wondering what hell this new creature was going to bestow upon him. The silver reptile in watchman’s armor stared back passively for a moment before drawing his own blade, quickly slicing through the ropes holding the drow to the post.

Valleth looked to the dragonborn gratefully before saying, “Something ain’t right here. This isn’t right. These people did nothing wrong!” motioning to the houses in the hamlet and the pyre that was once the community barn.

The dragonborn continued to look passively towards drow for a moment longer then slowly turned to face the blazing inferno. “Why is the barn on fire?” he asked calmly.

“This asshole”, gesturing towards the elf’s corpse, “had that walking muscle-bound thug and the rest of you put all the villagers in there… there was nothing I could do.” Valleth replied with a catch in his throat, rubbing the circulation back into his wrists from where the ropes had been tied.

The dragonborn simply nodded. Valleth hoped he understood the situation. Coldy, the lizard said, “I’m going to kill some more assholes responsible for this shit storm. You can either help me or I can kill you too.”, not even moving his eyes from the fire as he spoke.

Valleth smiled and he gathered his scimitars that were thrown to the dirt nearby. “Name’s Valleth.” he said as he took position next to the dragonborn.

“Khaine” replied the dragonborn before moving towards his former compatriots, adjusting the grip on his sword in stride.

Krieger and the other two watchmen noticed the drow and the dragonborn walking towards them. “`sa Pity the lizard got himself killed wit da Capt’n”, said large man, cracking his knuckles. “Dunno why the lewie wanted yea ta be here doe.” The other two watchmen chuckled as they drew their swords while they waited for the odd pair to make their way towards them.

One of the other watchmen began to chime in, “Maybe its because the elf wanted some shiny scales for his collection?” Khaine remembered his name was Steven or Stephan or something. Started with an “S” sound. Either way, Khaine was going to make him watch as he stuffed Krieger’s cauliflower ear into the mouth of the other watchman, Julian.

Julian seemed like he was going to respond to Stimothy but a black bolt shot forth from the dark, knocking Julian to the ground. A croaking voice sounded from the door of the cabin that Captain Marth’s body lay, a bloodied tiefling leaning against the door frame as if it were the only thing keeping him upright. “I’m covered in blood, I’m angry, and I KNOW you fuckers have something to do with it.” he shouted with a gurgling vocal fry, the hole in his throat visibly apparent, though the blood had stopped flowing. With strained effort, Sethanon raised his right arm again, pointing at Krieger’s ugly mug. A bolt of dark green energy shot forth from his hand towards Krieger. All Khaine could notice was how Sethanon’s fiery-red eyes that once sparkled in the light had faded into to orbs of pitch black darkness that seemed to absorb everything around it.

Published by Rav

Husband, Father, Designer, Artist, Writer, and Gamer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: