AR 1217-05-03 Krunch confronts the master
The day to confront the master is finally here. We’ve taken care to ensure that Scarface doesn’t know what I’m doing and ensured that he will still be part of the plan. While I’m doing this, Wolf is on some fool errand trying to take out a vampire lord. But it’s kind of like the anvil calling the hammer dense so I wished him the best as we parted ways.
The plan is simple. I’m going to get caught trying to kill the master. Oh, and I’m not going to be in much of a disguise so that I can be easily identified. It’s either brilliant or the desperate act of a fool. I guess I’ll figure out soon enough.
I planted incendiary devices on the master’s building set up to be lit at the same time. A heavy cart was set up to be rolled to block the back door and I barricaded one of the entrances into the tunnels (I know of at least one other).
It was all a ruse of course. While discussing the options on how to take out the master, burning the building was one option that I had thought of. But Wolf was quick to point out that there would be innocent people working in the building and that there was a good chance the fire would spread to other buildings in the neighborhood. Of all the plots (poisoning, ambush, etc) this was the easiest to set up and get caught.
As a high value target I knew I would be taken to the master’s office for personal interrogation. The plan was to get into the office and plant the mirror. I swallowed the potions, bottle and all as I had planned just before planting the last incendiary device. MaryAnne had thoughtfully put our initials on the “bottles” which were basically large capsules that were designed to slowly dissolve in our stomachs. They were a bit hard to swallow, much like some of Rissa’s stories. Mine was also quite bitter. I’ll have to remember to specify the flavor of mine if I do this again.
A few minutes later I was mulling over who was taking the greater risk this day. If the rumors of the master were true I was risking my immortal soul, but Wolf was risking becoming a blood sucking monster much like the accountants my father used to complain of.
We could have a vote by the group after we get back. I was debating appropriate bets, leaning towards having to review the trade accounts with Zen. I like Zen, he’s a good man to have at your side in a fight. But when he gets starts discussing trade agreements and the results of the grain harvest affecting the price of cheese my head starts to hurt.
My thoughts were interrupted by multiple hooded lanterns shining brightly in our faces as a familiar voice shouted “Halt! Put your hands on top of your head and identify yourself!”
“Well, I be caught well an’ true so ye may as well know ye caught Karunchar.” With an emphasis on my surname I continued. “Karunchar Stonerose.”
Whether or not Scarface noticed that I slipped him a couple of items before I was searched, or retrieved them afterwards he did not react. While I was a little roughed up by the guards, I was correct in our assumption that I would be considered high value targets I was sent to the master’s office for interrogation. With multiple guards in tow of course. While Scarface was not one of the guards allowed into the inner offices which was unfortunate, I did hear one of the guards mumbling something about “Another win for Scarface” which was good to hear. If we are ever in a position to give out medals for service to the cause, he deserves one.
They put a hood over my head and tied my hands of course. I tried to count the twists, turns and steps and I think I might be able to retrace my steps. Once in the office they removed the hoods after a bit of a discussion. I don’t think they was quite sure what to do with me but I think the general consensus was that I would not be amongst the living long enough for it to matter.
I was indeed in the master’s office, or at least one of the main rooms to judge by the sheaf of papers on the desk and a map on the wall of the valley with various inscrutable markings on it. Fortunately Scarface had tied our hands, using a knot my grandfather had shown me and that I in turn had taught to Scarface. Anyone checking the knots would think I was securely tied when in fact I had quite a bit of freedom of movement, and certainly enough for me to pull my the mirror and do a quick mage hand to place it in an out of the way corner of the ceiling. Good thing the guards was temporarily distracted by an owl beating at the window.
Then there was nothing to do but wait. And wait. This was, I admit, the most dangerous part of my plan. If the potions bottles slowly dissolving in my stomach did not work in a timely fashion my fate would be sealed soon enough.
Just when I thought the potions must be about to activate and that I would escape scot free, the door burst open and a red bearded dwarf burst into the room. There was a certain energy about the man, and not a pleasant one. Kind of like how your skin crawls right before a big thunderstorm, when the hairs on your arm stand up on end of their own volition as if in response to some unseen danger.
“So, what have I here!” Boomed Durbar, for certainly it could be no one else. “The fox has been caught tryin’ ta burn down tha henhouse, aye?”
Clapping his hands together he continued with a raucous laugh “An’ catchin’ ye tryin’ ta burn me buildin’! I’m proud of ye lad, willin’ ta do whatever it takes ta achieve yer goals!”
Speaking to his guards “See, this is what I was talkin’ about. Takin’ tha initiative, doin’ what needs ta be done, no matter what.”
Grabbing my beard and and pulling my chin up, he leaned down so far that his nose was almost touching mine. “If ye was anyone but me own flesh an’ blood I’d be workin’ on guttin’ ye slow an’ painful right now.”
I resisted the urge to smash his face with my forehead, instead responding in a flat tone “Why would I acknowledge ye as me father.” I guess all those diplomacy classes really did pay off. That and I had to keep him talking for as long as possible.
Letting me go, he let go of my beard and leaned back with a thoughtful look on his face.
“Well, I guess it’s true enough. Ye don’t know me. Probably only heard lies from those weasel hearted rust lickin’ fools that claim ta be yer parents.”
“It was only a few decades ago that I was livin’ tha good life. Upstandin’ member of tha Thunder Rift Clan. Me wife needed ta be set straight now an’ then, but don’t they all?”
With a scowl Durbar growled “Then that … wench … turned everyone against me. I mean sure, I drank some, but who doesn’t? I worked hard, I played hard.”
Fists clenched at his side, his face turned red as he spoke between gritted teeth. “Then she divorced me an fled to the Golden Eagle Clan. Claimed that me own son died at birth.”
Suddenly relaxing he gave a gap toothed smile. “But I knew better. No son of mine would be such a weaklin’.” A low chuckle was followed by “No. Me son would be strong, an’ smart.”
“An’ me son would take after his father. Hair red like tha glowin’ coals o’ a forge.” Durbar gave me a broad wink as he finished with “An’ he’d be willin’ ta do whatever it takes ta see his job through to tha end.”
I was silent for a moment. It was obvious he expected a reply and I had to choose my words carefully. I know, shocking, right? Thinking about what I was going to say?
Finally I replied. “Let’s say fer a moment that I am yer son.” The best lie contained a portion of truth so I plunged on “I’ve never felt like tha son of a king. I always felt like I was a hammer tryin’ ta chop wood. I just never fit.”
I gave a deep sigh. “Ye could be right. An’ I been channelin’ all me anger at ye.” Ignoring the low growl of anger coming from a shocked Wolf “Perhaps I been focusing me fury in the wrong direction.”
Durbar was silent for a moment, staring at me with a face that could have been carved in granite with only a flicker in his eyes betraying his emotions.
Finally he spoke quietly to one of the guards. “Cut loose his bonds.”
The guard queried in a shocked tone “Sir?”
Without taking his eyes off of me he growled “Do it. He won’t be goin’ nowhere. An’ Gustav will be here soon ta’ cast a zone o’ truth an’ a geas on tha lad ta ensure his cooperation.”
The guard cut me loose, and I embraced Durbar in a rough hug.
As I stepped back I planned out what I should do. Keep Durbar talking until my potion kicked in, which should be any moment now. Find out everything that I could now that I had him talking. The trap had been set and he was believing that I could turn to his side. Not because I had been particularly convincing but because he wanted to believe it.
That’s what I should have done. Instead the words just came out of out mouth before I could stop them.
“It may be that by biology I am yer son.” I briefly tried to stop the rest, but it came out anyway “But if that is true I thank the fates that I was raised by me true parents. Two of the best people I have ever met, instead of a snivelling coward of a weakling murderer like yerself.”
I was on a roll now with out silver tongued flattery so I kept right on going “Ye was kicked out of a clan because they knew ye was dross, corrupt and weak, unfit to be called a member of a proud clan. Then ye go an’ willingly make yerself the puppet o’ some undead thing?”
Durbar’s eyes were starting to flicker with true rage now, crackling pops of electricity filling the silence as I paused for emphasis.
“Ye’re a fool. But I would have ta be tha biggest fool ever ta be thinkin’ fer even a moment ta not be doin’ anythin’ in me power ta bring ye low. I will either kill ye meself one day or I’ll drag yer pathetic tin-plated lead filled arse in fer justice to me true king. Me true father. The man who deserves, who has earned me respect, love an’ devotion.”
I was expecting Durbar to attack at any time and indeed his face was twitching with anger, but he looked at the guards and said with barely restrained anger “He’s mine.” He then looked at me, his eyes filled with flashes of lightning.
“Ye ignorant little brat. I’ll cut yer tongue out fer that.” Lightning was now crackling across his body now, crawling like living things up and down. “No son o’ mine can talk back ta me an’ get away with it.”
Pulling his twin short swords and lunging at me in a flash so quick I barely had time to throw up my shield he swung at out head with a sword that seemed to be made of pure glowing energy. I desperately dodged to the side, doing a tumbling roll grabbing a small wooden foot stool to act as a shield as I went.
I was going to lose. Quickly. The potion still hadn’t kicked in and there was no stopping Durbar especially while unarmed and unarmored. But the battle instinct had taken over now and it was almost as if I was watching someone else raise the stool in a vain attempt to block the blades of the crazed dwarf only to have it sliced into pieces. Even though I had deflected the majority of the blow, my left arm went instantly numb and hung uselessly at my side.
Somehow I managed to say a quick prayer to Clangeddin, a soaring soliloquy. I think is was “Clangeddin! Help!” Ah, I was truly a silver tongued devil today in out plea for help from the gods. Yari would be proud.
Durbar paused for a moment, not because he was winded or because I was posing any kind of threat but to gloat.
His voice reverberating with energy he looked at me holding a broken of leg from the stool while the other arm twitched uselessly “I will enjoy watching your classmate … what did you used to call him? Stinky? Yes, I will enjoy watching Stinky filet you alive.”
I took a deep breath as I prepared to launch myself in what I knew would be an innefective attack when I saw the growing shadow at the window. I barely had time to cover out eyes as Hoo smashed through the window. But he wasn’t an ordinary owl any more. He was Hoo reborn, or should I say reforged.
Hoo had been transformed into a creature of war formed in the fires of Moradin’s forge. Seemingly made all of shining mithral with glowing coals for eyes, mithral feathers trailing sparks of fire and smoke Hoo shattered the window into a thousand pieces as he flew straight at Durbar’s head.
With Durbar temporarily distracted, I threw a kick at his knee and heard a satisfying crunch as I tumbled past as the room practically shook with Durbar’s yells of anger and Hoo’s screech of rage.
I glanced at Hoo, my glorious battle owl, but he was in rough shape and would not last much longer. I dismissed him with a thought, he didn’t need to see my demise.
Another quick prayer, this time to Dumathoin “Keeper o’ Secrets, if ever I needed aid in escapin’ now would be it” as I dove out the window.
It was a desperate move. I was several stories up and somewhere along the line several of Durbar’s blows had found their mark. I slowed my fall to that of a feather at the last moment, but guards were everywhere. I was looking around desperately for a weapon so that I could go down fighting when the potion finally kicked in and I was transformed into a gaseous cloud. I escaped into the sewers following the escape route I had planned with Wolf.
I retrieved my items, met up with Wolf who had his own adventures to share and headed back to Silverbriar. It had been an eventful day.