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Nim snapped to attention from a sound that was a thousand miles away. "What?" he said a little uncertain. "I said is there something wrong, Sir? You look...uh...troubled." He eyed the mercenary, his gaze drifting to the door and into the room beyond, and finally deciding to be unusually open with his thoughts.
"Yes, goblin tail. It's...these estates and this mansion used to be my home. It was once well provisioned and fortified, with servants, high walls, guards and exotic riches. I spent years building a fortune to buy the men I needed to reclaim my birth right. Now the grounds are taken with but me and a mere six recruits. It's anti-climactic, wouldn't you say?"
The young Initiate nodded nervously, eyes looking near Nim, but not directly so. Nim followed the youth's gaze until he found his own hands: One hand still clenching the collar of a uniform, the other tightly gripping a short blade with a deep resting place inside a warm belly. He blinked hard, and with a wet metallic sound the sword was free, and the body dropped to the ground.
He cleared his throat. "These men I cut down were not of House Mannelig. They have the look of sell-swords, the kind without courage or honor. My stepmother soils the name of house Mannelig even in her absence.”
Nim coolly wiped the blood off his short sword onto the edge of his tabard, using the time to regain his composure. "That should be the last of the guards my stepmother left behind. I pointed out the artifact strong-room a half hour ago. Do the men have the damn trapped door open yet? I expected to be gone by now. I wrote the instructions on what to do very carefully. I even drew pictures in case none of you could read. Well?"
"Sir, that's why I came to find you, the hidden chamber is breached. A chest was found right where you said." The youth shifted nervously from foot to foot, eying the body on the ground.
Nim sheathed his sword and moved with purpose towards the chamber, the pup at his boot heels. He found the other five Initiates lifting the ornate chest the last few inches out of the floor, straining to set it down gently. He found himself flooded with emotion: nostalgia, relief, anger, fear, and even joy. But he settled on purpose, and approached the chest until he could run his fingers along the intricate inlays and carvings.
"Gentlemen, the last I knew, my family's fortune was in the millions. My father, rest his soul, was one of the wealthiest, most successful, and ruthless exotic merchants in all of Hithdor. I have seen treasure beyond your sorry imaginations pass through these halls in my lifetime. But none of it compared to what is in this chest. This chest contains knowledge, a knowledge that frightened my father so much that he buried it away and exiled his only son for being exposed to it."
Nim moved his hand first to his short sword, but then settled for his saber. He exposed it with expert regard, and tapped the top of the chest with a loud clang.
"I'm telling you this, so that you fully understand when say I will have guts for garters if anything inside this chest gets damaged, I mean it. Now get it loaded it into the war-wagon."
His small company began moving in all manner of urgency. Nim took out his pipe and lit it, watching his ants scurry about. Several minutes later the chest was on its way out of the estate to be carefully packed away. Nim was left standing alone in the chamber save for the one Initiate he had warmed up to.
The silence was broken after a full minute. "Sir, I don't mean to question, but Lord Asashi sent you on a mission to retrieve books?"
Nim took a long draw before choosing his words carefully. "Goblin tail, I chose you out of the six men I was given for this mission to be my right hand. I did so because you show promise. Use your head. I didn’t say books, I said knowledge. There is a book contained within, but there is far more than that."
"The artifacts come from the far East. All purchased by my family decades ago from a merchant schooner, one of only a handful of vessels in centuries to ever survive the voyage there and back."
Nim tapped out the long pipe against his bracer, stalling before he continued. "Lord Asashi sent me here to prove my worth. He desires to be Dark Lord Asashi, and should the battle now raging just a mile from us not end favorably, we will have need of other avenues to rise to power."
It was at that moment the sound of the men returning could be heard down the hallway. The time to leave was upon them. He placed a hand upon the shoulder of the initiate.
"Now we fly, away from here, to watch and wait. To sew some anarchy, and what we reap of it."
Last edited by Nim Mannelig, 7/13/2013, 7:36 pm
Stupidity is not a crime, but it is punishable by death. Nature is a hanging judge, and natural selection will come back with a guilty verdict every time.
7/12/2013, 11:08 pm
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