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Solver of problems

AragmarFeb 25, 2021, 3:15:53 AM

Part 3

The stench of ancient horror

His wounds were yet to fully heal, therefore Rem sneakily aimed his own and very quiet crossbow “Loom”, first at the four enemy shooters. He would then change position, hug every shadow and attempt to aid the guards while still remaining concealed. After enough of Levoah's specialists were shot dead, and the guard's survival ensured, the solver of problems would continue on his way to the city proper. He had plenty of covered with “Choke Death” bolts, and only if these assassins were dark elves or possessed extreme fortitude, they could resist the poison's bite. Hopefully even those of them who didn't die would fall asleep, captured and then later interrogated by the guards. That might even put a stopper to Levoah's aim to use the city guards against Rem. He knelt, gave Felk a sign to get ready his magics and aimed down the iron sights. Thanks to the crossbow's Night Watch enchantment, he easily picked his first target and pulled the trigger...

The poison tipped bolt went completely unnoticed during its near soundless flight. Unable to scream, Rem's first target slumped forward with snapped vertebrae and pierced throat – he'd hit the crossbowman straight in the back of his neck. Before anyone could react, a second bolt connected with another of Levoah's underlings; the razor sharp tip lodged itself into her brain after entering through the temple. The third and forth shots also found their targets – the two remaining enemy shooters also lay dead, with bolts sticking out their backs. He aimed and pulled the trigger, letting loose the last bolt, before reaching for and reloading with his spare clip. Instead of shooting to kill he hit a leg and quickly, the hamstrung assassin spearman also fell, slain by the guards. Levoah's specialists instantly split in two groups; while three dashed in his general direction, the second group of seven warriors pressed their assault. Indeed, these speedy and quite observant murderers for hire did pinpoint his position correctly. Unfortunately for them, Rem was no longer there and from the second he reloaded, his two feet rested firmly upon Felk's armored head. The lich's slowly floating skull could not bear the weight of a fully armored, armed human for long. That he need not do since one of the large, shrouded in shadows support columns was close. No mana flickered in Felk's eyes and as he mumbled the empowered levitation spell, the holy undead completely relied on his friend for guidance. One, two, three and then four bolts flew in the air; again the first two enemies never knew what hit them as they fell. The first got hit in the back of his neck and the second – her nape. Rem aimed bolt three and four slightly lower, his intent was to wound the last assassin. That, however was unsuccessful and he landed, a crescent throwing blade nearly shaving off his left shoulder. Fortunately the column provided excellent cover; he peeked to the right and after looking through the Night Watch spell of his crossbow, grabbed Sparrow's handle. As Rem loosed his last bolt, he dodged another flying blade and with quite the elegant pirouette, rotated back behind the column. He remembered well what inhuman, supremely trained reaction these specialists possessed and expected the assassin to effortlessly dodge his bolt. While this one rolled away from one flying projectile however, he should not be able to evade Sparrow's sharp tip. Immediately his hand threw the enchanted dagger and, this quite tasking for him now combat gymnastics apparently paid off in full, because he heard a death throe. Felk floated up and after scouting the premises, reported:

“Master Rem, that was quite the deadly dancing move, if I might say so myself! Now quick... we must become scarce again.”

“Our guard friends should be fine with such odds, wouldn't you think?”

“Indeed, they would either slay the assassins or Levoah's employees will speedily retreat. Though I'd wager my considerable arcane knowledge that the scum will dolt.” - He could hear how the lich sniggered in his mind and then followed his previous words:

“Pha, I was correct once again, my friend! Peak through your spell and see...”

Sparrow returned to his hand and from a distance, he observed how something on the specialist's body detonated. The significant amounts of magical energy released were not equivalent to a “suicide” potion, which, Rem was sure every single one of these fanatics carried on their person. Obviously, the commander of these assassins didn't want anyone to know who they were working for and what their mission was. He'd hoped that the man he wounded with one of his bolts would be captured by the guards, alas, not everything happened as you assumed it would. The Night Watch spell allowed Rem to observe how the rest of Levoah's henchmen quickly got the proper trashing they deserved and the four who remained alive, ran away. Of course, the filth used magics that gave them incredible edge in speed, yet the guards were tired and most of them too badly wounded to give chase. Hopefully in the aftermath of such a slaughter, there would be enough left for the scouts to find at least some clues. Even if the rangers gathered close to nothing, a group which assaulted the city guard would find itself under investigation and in certain, deadly trouble. Noticing another eight man patrol running from a distant, deep sewer tunnel, Rem again hugged the shadows. With a slight limp and feeling unnaturally exerted, the solver of problems left the area. He slung Loom on his back, wrapped himself in his cloak and after a dozen or so minutes of slithering from one shadow into another, finally reached the exit tunnel. A bit further down this pungent passage lay a well hidden stair, atop which was one long-forgotten sewer lid. He wouldn't exit the sewers on one of the big streets; there was a tiny wynd, known only to people like him and few others. It was the inhabitants of this small street, who supplied him with information, that and their runners dashed around Krart, delivering his missives. Of course, Rem picked the lid which was furthest away from the Street people's settlement – it wouldn't be fair to place them in danger. Calling for reinforcements and ordering them to guard this exit in particular was a prudent move... in case he was followed. His nose picked up something, a sweet scent lingering in the otherwise reeking of rot and excrement sewage tunnel. So strong was this odor, that nothing normal could've left it! For a few seconds Rem entertained the ludicrous notion that some lady of the night could've dropped her enchanted perfume, it seeped down some drain, then lingered here. That was for a short while though, because Felk's startled voice shouted in his head:

“Did you smell that sickly sweet odor? By Kan's Grace, this is a Stitch! These idiots let loose a bloody Stitch...”

Rem immediately unsheathed Sap and Sparrow, took a combat stance, his eyes scoured the walls and ceiling close to him. The Stitch was something of an engineered monster; a leftover from the olden days when sorcerers and wizards fought wars against each other. Thankfully, the secrets of its creation were long since lost and hopefully no one would ever learn how to “make” them again. Sewn together from different creatures, when any of these monstrous humanoids stumbled from the lower dungeons, the shady underbelly of Krart's society was prepared to pay good coin for their capture. Then, if the legends were true, any arcanist who successfully linked their magic to a Stitch, would be able to control it. This horror made of tortured flesh was perhaps intended to be an imbued by alchemical potions and enhanced with magics soldier. The perfect warrior who knew no pain, had no remorse and obeyed every order without question or any shred of hesitation. Felk once told him that this monstrosity was somehow alive; implanted into this unnatural, vaguely humanoid-looking body was the brain of a willing “volunteer”. Those who envisioned and then created thousands of these things had no moral constraints or even thought about the consequences of their actions. The Stitches were indeed very powerful since they had bones from a troll, the muscles of many orks, goblin sinews, eyes and ears taken from elves – their skin that of an ogre. Indeed the sweet odor was probably your best chance to detect them before they leapt and rent you limb from bloody limb. For this creation of wizards and sorcerers had one fatal flaw – no sooner had these creatures tasted blood, survived insane magical battles, they went mad. Legends spoke of Stitches going on a devastating rampage, murdering most of their masters and then nearly wiping out Krart's entire population. It was this or the beasts rebelled against their creators, murdered them all and then the ensuing chaos took the lives of many innocents, just as it always happened when fool arcanists dabbled in matters they shouldn't have. Rem gulped nervously and looked down the tunnel; from this range, he could see the hidden ladder. It was only sixty, maybe sixty-four feet away and he could run that short distance, easily, quickly. However, one of the abilities which these monsters were “gifted” with was magical sense of smell.

Those who had boasted in the past of commanding a Stitch, they claimed the beast could track anyone, nearly anywhere...

Rem was an athlete, in peak physical shape and capable of achieving great speed. Yet how good was his fleet of foot compared to an ancient, forged by magics and infused with alchemy beast? Taking calculated risks in a dire situation like this one was absolutely worth it! He would run, dash as quickly as possible and attempt to reach the ladder before the creature attacked. Once on the outside and joined with his reinforcements, together they would be capable of defeating a Stitch. - If that is Rem's choice, vote 1 in your comment. 

He could try to distract the monster, attempt to misdirect the Stitch while Felk flew outside and brought reinforcements. After all, the beast was after him; the bony lich had a much better chance of reaching the top, him being a floating skull and all. Rem gathered all of his remaining strength and with baited breath readied himself for what would be a dance most deadly. - If that is Rem's choice, vote 2 in your comment. 

There was another choice and Rem had to acknowledge that even with his allies on top, he might lose. What would happen to the people living there as he battled and worst yet, after the combat ended? The chance of this Stitch going berserk like its kind did many centuries ago was very real. No, Rem would steel himself and battle the beast down here. Between his blades and Felk's magics, they should be able to at least wound the Stitch, then either it would escape or they retreat. The old stories never said that these monstrosities regenerated as fast as trolls did, therefore there was a chance... - If that is Rem's choice, vote 3 in your comment.

Link to Solver of problems, episode 2 part 1.

Link to Solver of problems, episode 2 part 2.

Link to Solver of Problems, episode 2 part 4.

Link to Solver of Problems, episode 2 part 5.

Link to Solver of Problems, episode 2 part 6.

Link to Solver of Problems, episode 2 part 7.