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A good sword and dagger combo was always nifty to have on your belt. The sword named “Sap” was somewhat heavier than most short arming swords – this weapon had no fuller and instead the blade was thicker at the center. That added weight allowed the swordsman to strike with the flat of its blade and the weapon had a nifty enchantment woven in it called Brawler magic. When you hit someone with the flat, protruding part of the sword it was as if you were wielding a small mace. The magic gifted this already versatile and quick sword with even more uses during combat. You could stab, slash and even crush someone's bones with it, unless they wore plate armor, that is. In most cases, Rem would pick one of his treasured shields and pair it with “Sap”. Not on this job however. He picked up one of his favorite daggers called “Sparrow” and flung the perfectly weighed weapon at the nearby training dummy. After Val placed the bracer which came together with “Sparrow” on his left wrist and with a thought, Rem ordered the dagger back in his opened hand. Which it did, quickly and if one was not careful, they could get hurt by its handle or, Kan forbid, the blade. The dagger was an excellent off hand weapon and in melee most swordsmen used one to glance off or parry blows, while they riposted with their main weapons.
Rem quickly attached both “Sap” and “Sparrow” sheaths to his sword belt. After reactivating all wards and locking the doors, the solver of problems left his Armory. Dressed for success and with Val in following him closely, Rem directed his steps toward the Mansion's library. One of his helpers had set up shop there, brewed potions and kept watch over Rem's small collection of magical items. Never mind that the job was an easy one, you never went out of your home without at least one magic item. Of course, only the daftest people would enter a dangerous situation without a potion or two, clinking in their pockets. Although he certainly had pockets, Rem's line of work required an approach most stealthy. He kept a few of them in one reinforced little box, coated with wool and neatly secured on his belt. It had three empty slots, which he intended to fill with healing potions. Rem was not going to war, yet there was still danger in any engagement, however “minor” it seemed at first glance.
After reaching the main hall, Rem and his maid split for a short while. Val rushed towards the mansion's pantry while he checked if his Mansion's traps were activated and recharged. His trusty maid soon came back carrying a five day ration pack and one canteen full of mead. Rem had absolutely no desire to drink from forest streams or stale rain water. The danger from parasites and all sort of illnesses which could damage your health and even kill you, was ever present. Indeed, one could easily remedy that by filtering and boiling the water, but he wasn't going on a long journey. Just in case though, Val packed a couple of alchemist water cleaning pills for him. Those he could drop in his canteen and then drink the metallic tasting, but cleaned water. Although the waters of the Sleu river flowed near by, hunting giant carp without a spear was near suicide – the otherwise tasty swimming critters would easily eat whole any idiot dumb enough to get close. Rem touched his bow and then sighed – perhaps a rope tied to one of his arrows? No. That wasn't that smart either because giant carp swam so fast that they could drag you into the water with ease. They even uprooted small trees, if you tied the other end of your rope to one, thinking that could help you. Chuckling, Rem reached for the library's door and after pushing it open, abandoned all thoughts of fishing. He was going to hunt Useless, not battle the much stronger and elusive, tasty fishies. Rem calmly smiled at his maid and before he entered the library, gave her his last instruction:
“Valeria, I want you to stay inside the Mansion and keep to yourself for the duration of this Job. We have a pantry full of food, the doors are sturdy and their locks hard to pick. All wards are up, the traps are reloaded and just to be on the safe side, keep that gun on your person at all times.” - His maid gave him another one of her confused looks before bowing politely.
“It will be as the Master wishes.” - She uttered with her most professional tone of voice and yet Rem sensed that she was tense. He was sure that Val would do what he asked of her and try to stay safe. The solver of problems had many enemies and some of them would gladly try and use his friends or helpers against him. Rem hoped that this time, at least during his vacation, there would be no problems. He watched how Val walked with her usual grace, dressed in her immaculate maid outfit. The young woman bowed at him before she entered the Mansion's storage room and continued her daily work routine.
His small library had an alchemist lab and around it, as always, floated the skull of his friend Felkmar. The lich had somehow “lost” the rest of his body while lying in his coffin. When Felkmar finally woke up, he found that the rest of his tomb was picked clean too. Somehow, someone managed to slip past Kan's tomb guardians, the traps, wards and other defenses to steal his very body and all of his stuff. To pull a feat like this and then escape unnoticed, while lugging all that loot, was a thing almost inconceivable. To a kannite like Rem this was a heretical act, and one of his sources supplied him with this information after Temple had covered it. Kan's priesthood wished no altercation with angered and scared citizens of Krart. Nobody wanted to be informed that their deceased loved ones could be robbed of their possessions and their tombs desecrated, under the Temple's watch noses. For sure they offered some form of compensation to Felkmar, yet whatever the size of that sum was, nothing could turn back time and change what had already occurred. Rem befriended the holy undead a year after he met him in one seedy tavern in Krart's Eternal quarter. The lonely skull was drinking his sorrows away, consuming copious amounts of spirit wine and had chalked up quite a tab. Said tab Rem promised to cover, that and aid the unfortunate lich in his body searching quest. Felkmar or simply Felk, was of calm and collected character and a capable alchemist, which was a fact known to Rem. He quickly made use of his new helper's workaholic tendencies and put Felk to work – brewing potions, recharging magical items or identifying his collection of looted gear.
“Rem, be careful when picking those health potions! I tried stacking them higher but you know,” - the floating skull's “eyes” blinked a couple of times before he continued - “I gots' no hands! That and those cheap candles of yours, can you see my beautiful bony face?! It is all covered with soot... By Kan's name, I swear, those working conditions are appalling and I demand a raise now!”
The library echoed with Felkmar's cackle, as he floated over Rem's shoulder, his eye sockets glowed with bluish energy. After Rem stashed three potions in the well secured on his belt, reinforced box and closed it, the man sat on one of the free from books chairs. Pulling a handkerchief from his pocket, Rem carefully wiped the candle wax and soot from his friend's skill.
“There, you look like a thousand gold pieces. Now cut that crap about raising wages, Felk. You know full fell that I, and my contacts are still digging. When they have something, we will start working on it. Those were some sneaky basterds, the ones who managed to lift your stuff and... the rest of you. They are bad news, a hot subject and as you can probably imagine, Temple wants no trouble. The priests are keeping this under wraps, they snuffed all sources of information that I could usually rely on from the inside. Although someone like me can usually do stuff under their divining spells, which they'd most certainly use to enforce their cover up. The guards have to catch me first!”
“That will be the day!” - chuckled Felk again, while floating back to one of his books and used magikinesis to turn the next page - “Now do you want me to show you what newly recharged stuff I have in my chest or not?”
“Yes, please. I am not getting any younger your bonyness, and that new job came with a time limit.” - Rem reached for the small, warded chest, which was stashed beneath the potion table, pulled it under the candle light and waited for Felk to unlock it.
“Muhumorra!” - Hissed the lich and something on the chest's inside clicked loudly. The undead then “breathed” blue colored magical air, which engulfed the chest. Rem saw a couple of runes around it, flicker and vanish.
“What have we here?” - Anxious to see what the lich had been working on, identifying and then recharging, using his own magical energy. Thieves who were dumb enough to try and steal something... well... they'd be instantly disintegrated by the chest's wards. Come to think of it, the chest had an alchemist lock on it too. That information he kept on the back end of his mind again bothered him and the solver of problems decided to ask his own alchemist more.
“Did you know that this elf, the chest maker Vervic was murdered a few days ago?” - Asked the lich Rem, while his hands still held the chest's lid up and he marveled at its contents.
“Bah! Prolly he asked someone too much for changing their lock's password. That elven bastard was always too greedy a fool to realize that you don't fuck with some people, not ever!” - Felkmar's glowing eyes turned from the book he was reading and focused at Rem's face - “Why, you don't think that this is somehow connected to that new job, do you?”
“I don't know what to think. That was just the usual info-letter that my contacts in Krart supply me with ninthly. You know, the usual stuff: rumors about who dates who, some of the most notable murders, dangerous intrigues, that kind of dreck.”
“Rem, I think that you shouldn't ask anyone to dig deeper, if I were you. Vervic was a spiteful old elven fuck and he had a lot of enemies. If anything, you should do it personally,” - the lich examined Rem's slightly startled reaction to his words, then floated away from the book and added the following - “can't rely on your people to do everything for you. Considering Vervic's position in high society and whom he dealt with in Krart, this has to be one really entangled web of shittery which, I think, you should unravel personally.”
“You don't say. I always tried not to stick my neck up too much and play with the high rollers. Too dangerous and bad for business it is. Anyways, when I first read about it last month, I didn't think this concerned me.”
“That thing you are supposed to haul back to Krart after liberating it from the Useless... it was a small chest with alchemical lock, wasn't it? You are thinking what I am too, right?” - Now the lich was basically in Rem's face, his eye sockets aglow with blue burning flames of mana. Seems that this new job of his had peeked his interested and Felk wasn't hiding it.
“Yes... I am even more suspicions now than when I first read the Countess's letter. Perhaps Vervic made that chest, but... Well, like you said yourself, that does not mean he was killed for that. You catalog all of my job letters after I read them, so you should know what I know. ”
“Rem, if you want, I can give you something that might help you open that chest. That is, if you decide to poke the dragon's eye, so to speak. Your choice buddy.” - The lich floated back and continued reading his book. Rem noticed that there was a key next to the candelabra and it bore the alchemist sign of Felkmar. The lich sensed him eyeballing his key and mumbled:
“You can take my alchemist chest-opener, try to unlock the thing and see what's inside. You can do that yourself or... better yet bring an alchemist along with you. Like I just said, your choice.” - Rem quickly weighed the advantages and disadvantages of taking Felk on the job. The solver of problems always picked one of the helpers who resided in his Mansion and brought them with him if he needed an extra hand. His suspicions made Rem consider doing so – after all it was better to have an ace in the sleeve than not and he was paying the buggers. Why not use them, exploit their skill?
Regardless, he had to chose one item and take it with him and Rem hastily rummaged through the chest's contents. On most low level jobs he usually took only one – wondrous items were expensive and most took forever to recharge. Indeed, those of arcane skill could infuse said items with their own mana, replenishing their charge but that took quite a long time. Many of the older artifacts required great concentration to recharge, that and insane amounts of mana. It seems that Felk had six items ready for him, all charged up and neatly stashed inside that chest of his.
1. The first item was a dark blue, lined with black runes hooded cloak. The thing was infused with Invisibility magic and could hide him completely, sustaining its shroud for half an hour at best. Even if he didn't use its magic, it was a good cloak and aid him since he was skilled in evading detection. It was best used under cover of darkness, although the spell could be activated anytime and worked perfectly even under the brightest of sunlight.
2. The other item were his recently looted pair of magical boots. They were comfy and offered protection from the elements, kept their wearer's feet dry. Best of all, the boots were infused with Silence magic and after activation, made Rem's footsteps soundless. That lasted for a one hour, then the charge was spent and they became a normal pair of boots.
3. His magic rope was also in the chest. Apart from the fact that you could use it and tie something or climb down (or up) easily reaching another area, the rope was infused with Binding magic. You could order it to tie itself somewhere or tie someone. It followed one order and that was it, its charge was spent. That knot it tied though, only the rope's user could untie it and the thing was extra strong, you'd need a weapon infused with magic to cut it.
4. A ordinarily looking gold ring, which was infused with Shield magic was also inside the chest. That could be used and would stop two, maybe three ranged attacks and a simple spell, like arcane missile for example. The ring had a small note attached to it and it said: “This item's magic protects from normal ranged attacks only – not arcane guns!”
5. The wand, which was also stashed conveniently inside his chest was also one time use only. It had a single charge of the Bog magic, which when activated created a small, muddy and very sticky swamp. The magic worked almost instantaneously and only those who were of the arcane could successfully detect it. Them and others, who had access to magical items which gave them arcane sight...
6. An amulet, which allowed its wearer to project his or her voice at distance, was the last item lying on the bottom of his chest. It was infused with Ventriloquist magic and worked only for ten minutes at best but... if one was creative and had a good plan. A lot of less cerebral enemies could be fooled with it, that, and you could find other, even more creative uses for the amulet.