Cuana Chapter 9 Entry 4

Our meeting concluded, Publius turned his attention back to the mass of reports on his desk. We left the chancellory and headed immediately to the part of town where Nadanidus lived. Concerned about making sure he was at his full strength for spellcraft, the Stygian kept a watchful eye for any stragglers that he might use to boost his ability. He soon spotted two people in an alley – a whore busily engaged in making a little on the side with a customer who wasn’t picky about location. Tullweim and I waited out on the street while Dhak and Xacksmith crept into the alley, but we didn’t have long to wait as the two soon emerged and we were on our way again.

Nadanidus’s house was in a very wealthy section of town, one that was obviously populated by old money. Most of the places in the area could be described as estates, easily comparable to some of the placed I saw back in Ophir. The sewer grate was right where we were told it would be, so we pried it open and climbed on down to the tunnel below. Regardless of what the people in this area may believe, the shit of aristocrats is as putrid as that of the lowest beggar. A foul stream ran down the center of the tunnel, a narrow walkway to either side. Following the sewer in the direction of Lord Nadanidus’s house, we came to a square chamber, most of which was taken up by a large cesspit. A narrow ledge led around the circumference of the chamber, stains on the walls marking higher levels of sewage from the recent past. One couldn’t help but think how much worse this path could be had this been the rainy season, for the residue on the chamber walls reached quite high. The Hyrkanian spied the outline of a door on the far side of the chamber and began to creep along the ledge toward it very cautiously in order to avoid tumbling into the muck. Unfortunately, his dexterous nature with lock and bow does nothing for his balance. He was about at the midway point when his foot slipped and he began to topple over, his arms windmilling in a futile effort to stay on his feet. He hit the cesspit with a splash, sending freshly noxious vapors up from the undisturbed bottom of the pool. Even funnier than seeing him fall was the sight of him as he shot back up out of the slime, scrambling for the ledge with as if demons were close on his tail, the most intense expression of anger mixed with disgust that I have ever seen. Indeed, I had to turn my head to conceal my smile, and it was all I could do to keep from laughing out loud at the spectacle. Putrid filth dripping from his clothing, Xacksmith managed to climb back out and up onto the ledge right at the point where the door was located.

Tullweim was next to try the ledge. Subsequently, he was the next to tumble into the cesspit. Arms flailing, he nearly toppled into the pool head-first, causing me to once again avert my gaze or burst out laughing. He clamored back out of the pool and onto the ledge, a ridiculous grin across his face and the fermented sewage dripping off of him in little clumps like lumpy gravy. Xacksmith had found and picked a lock on the door, clearing room on the ledge for the Nordheimer. Dhak was next to brave the ledge, but his balance was true and he made it to the door without slipping into the slimy water. Sheathing my greatsword, I stepped out onto the ledge and examined the wall. The mortar in between the stones that formed the wall was pitted enough for me to use as hand-holds, so I climbed up a few inches and began to creep along the wall as if I was traversing a cliff face back home as I did in my youth. I was lucky in that the stones all held my weight, and I was able to attain the far side of the chamber without drenching myself in the sewage of Tarantia’s upper class.

Disguising himself by donning a black robe, the Stygian was able to pass some posted guards that were keeping watch against intruders. Once the Stygian had passed, Tullweim and I both charged into the room, the Nordheimer cutting down two of them in a frenzied blur of bloodied motion. The third tried to flee but ran headlong into Dhak and his blade, and wounded, turned and ran directly into my path. I quickly cut him down, and began to haul the bodies out of the way and into the shadows where they’d not be so easily seen if someone was to come upon them. Dhak hastened into the room to tell us that he’d heard people talking of hearing noise in the hall when he listened at a door a short distance away. We all took cover and remained silent, hearing someone emerge from the room and enter the passageway to have a look around. Satisfied that no one was about, he returned to the room. We followed close behind, threw open the door, and stormed the place.

Looks of surprise greeted us from those assembled – a number of Mitran priests, including that cur Constanus, were startled by our entry. So, this ten-or-so priests were ‘the brotherhood’, were they? Tullweim and I charged to meet them, our swords raised and already beginning to arc toward our foes. The fighting was at once furious, but the priests were able to withstand much more damage than they should have due to protective spells they had cast upon themselves. I dealt four vicious, near-killing blows on the closest priests, but they merely staggered a bit and kept fighting. Angered and determined, I again waded in after them, this time not only cleaving into them but killing five right on the spot. I was struck by something – a small glass globe I believe – that burst upon striking me and engulfing me in flames. I fell to the floor, temporarily paralyzed by the agony inflicted by the flames. Fortunately for me, the damage wasn’t enough to kill me and I was eventually able to climb back to my feet and rejoin the fight. Constanus caught our attention and reminded us that he was a good priest of Mitra and that he needed to leave, so we made room as best as we could to allow him to pass while we continued fighting the last of the priests. We were just taking down the last of the Mitrans when guards began charging our room from another direction down the passageway. Tullweim stood blocking the doorway to prevent them from entering, and so they would be forced to face him one at a time, while I took up position just beside the door. A warning came to my ears when I heard the Stygian chanting, but I was unable to keep away from the field of vision once again, and panic arose within me as I saw one of the slain guards rise up from the floor and begin flailing at his comrades. They were seemingly unfazed at the sight of a corpse attacking them and quickly sent it to lying quietly on the floor once again. I took up my position aside the doorway as soon as my nerves returned, ready to step in and help Tullweim if the need arises.

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Cuana Chapter 9 Entry 4

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