23 August 2012

Assassin's Gambit ~ Part II

This is an extension of a previous story that can be found HERE.

The Nyss assassin thought back to his encounter with the Trollkin in the ravine and winced.   His nose still crooked from the encounter, he stretched and rotated his shoulder while practicing his forms.   His arm and shoulder had been set and healed professionally but it still ached.  The Nyss continued through the pain as he had every day for almost a year since that encounter.  His ability to wield his sword seemed to be greater than his former capacity as evidenced by the grace, speed and precision exhibited as he continued through the steps and forms.  If anything his patience and focus had gotten better than before the encounter that had nearly cost him his life, either way the time had come for the Nyss to collect from the one responsible for causing him so much pain.
She scaled the broken wall easily and found a perch nestled in the corner of where the roof tiles ended and a worn stone creature warded the edge of the building.  The stone carving appeared to have once been something marvelous but now stood muted and gray its features long lost to time and weather.  She wrapped her cloak around her and began scanning the courtyard through the scope of her rifle. Even a trained eye she would appear nothing more than a large stone at the base of the statue.  Her boss had sent her to confirm rumors that the one that wanted to kill him was indeed staying in the rundown inn.  Scanning every corner and cranny for signs of movement was boring work and she had to be careful.  The one she looked for was very good at not being seen and word had come to her boss that competing contracts had already lost more than a few of their men that didn’t hide well enough while trying to track the target.  She would be careful though, she was always careful, and though she was instructed not to engage the target if he did find her she was certain she could put a bullet between his eyes long before he had the chance to dispose of her like he had the other contracts scouts.  In the distance she could hear singing and laughter from the pub, only one Troll she knew sang that old Troll drinking song….
To all appearances he was almost too drunk stand, and all the men cheered and clapped and joined in as he sang as only one of his lineage could.   He sang his favorite Troll drinking songs at the top of his lungs and the whole room erupted in laughter drinking.   Appearances were deceiving though, he watched and waited for signs that she had found the room he was staying in.   He would pay for nearly killing him a year ago.  The scar on his face never went away and could make him look fierce, but it was the leg that caused him the most grief.   The fight in the ravine had left a nasty wound in his leg that refused to regenerate; this ultimately caused a Trollkin shaman to have his leg removed.   Nothing in his life had prepared him for the ordeal of a regrowing and retraining a new leg. It had taken nearly a year for him to regain the control to use it in battle.  Fortunately that was about the amount of time it had taken him to find his target and plan revenge.  Of course it didn’t hurt that he had three separate contracts on this target.  They would get paid handsomely once this job was finished, then she would insist they go find the united Kriel and leave the humans to their own devices.  She was excited to meet other Pygmy Trolls, the Gobbers barely tolerated her and they had spent so much time in cities she hadn’t seen another of her kind for far too long.   He felt differently, and hadn’t told her yet, that he probably wouldn’t be joining her in that adventure, emotional wounds do not heal sometimes and he didn’t think they would ever forgive him.    He felt a tap at his side and saw her grinning at him… that meant only one thing, she had found the target and it was time to collect.
The Nyss had laid his trap and now waited for them to fall in it.  He was certain that the scout had seen him and noted where he was staying.    He also figured that they would come after him immediately.  His shoulder was tight and tense so he worked and stretched it while he waited for him to arrive. Only one of them would survive and the Nyss was certain it would be him.
They weaved in and out of alleyways but she seemed to know exactly where they were going.  He always was amazed at her speed and skill, it made him feel big and clumsy.  Excitement pumped through him, once they arrived she would find a perch and ‘persuade’ anyone from entering in the fight so just he and the target could confront each other.  This fight would not be easy, the target was a skilled warrior and rumored to have some sorcerous power as well.  He wasn’t worried, one way or another his small friend would get her wish to see the united Kriel, he had made arrangements, but this would end today.  Too many times over the last year had they encountered hired assassins, mercenaries and bounty hunters trying to collect on his life.  It was time to find out why this man wanted him dead.
Waiting quietly in the corner the Nyss heard footsteps coming up the door.  He leaned back on the wall and tried to appear casual hoping to surprise him.  The door opened and the heavily armed target walked in.  The man that the Nyss surveyed was large and graceful, even in a full suit of armor he moved with ease, the large weapon at his side glowed with green runes up and down its side and the light seemed to shrink around him.  The man put down the bag he was carrying and looked right at the Nyss stating in a smooth baritone voice, “you have failed your contract against the Trollkin, coming here this night means you wish to pay for your failure with your life.”  In one flourish he drew the giant green-rune broadsword and held it out horizontally waiting for the Nyss to attack.
Without hesitation the Nyss began to circle around the man’s left when the report of rifle stopped them both in their tracks, shattering the window to their right the body of a man fell from the precipice.   Before they could resume their posturing a Trollkin drinking song reverberated in the hallway just outside their room.  As the song grew the door to the room seemed to bend inward then shatter spraying the armored knight with harmless splinters.  Strolling into the room the Trollkin smiled wickedly at the knight holding his mace casually in one hand.  With an earsplitting roar he charged leading with his shoulder mace held close to his chest.  The knight angled away from the charge sweeping with his giant sword forcing the Trollkin to throw out his mace to deflect the blade.   In a shower of sparks he skidded past the knight and came face to face with the Nyss.  They instantly recognized each other from the battle they had a year earlier and both realized they were here for the same reason.   The Nyss exploded into action, stepping up on the Trollkin’s chest and shoulder he vaulted himself sideways at the knight reaching out with a downward slash at his unarmored head. 
Unable to avoid the attack from the Nyss the knight accepted the blow knowing his arcane shield would blunt the attack.  Still the Nyss scored a thin slash over his eye.  He knew he could take one or the other of his attackers but was unsure that both of them could be overcome simultaneously.  So he turned to run down the hallway preparing a spell of destruction to collapse the room and hallway with caustic nether worldly power.   As he stepped into the hall though the report of a rifle at close range was followed by pain exploding in his left thigh, forcing the knight to expend the spell at this new threat collapsing the opposite end of the inn talking the diminutive rifleman with it, and trapping himself in the fight with the Nyss and Trollkin.
Hoping to take advantage of the distracted knight the Trollkin let out another roar at the knight the air shimmered and reverberated around the knight as the remaining door and frame exploded.  Amazingly the knight stood firm only barely dropping to one knee over his now injured leg.  Grinning the knight lashed out with necromantic energy to encase the Trollkin with caustic liquid.  The spell caught him full in the chest flinging the Troll into the far wall and crashing him through a table to lay still.  Stepping into the room fully the knight again prepared his demonic spells this time using his power to temporarily make himself shimmer and blur to eyes of the oncoming Nyss.
The elf up on his toes slashed high at the less agile knight then dropped low under the knights counter jab.  Pivoting all the way around on the balls of his feet the Nyss slashed hard at the injured leg of the knight attempting to sever it.  The cut stopped only partially into the Knight injuring him further but not slicing through.    The Nyss hesitated at the unexpected halt in his blades motion and it cost him a gauntleted fist in the chest forcing him into a backward somersault and taking all the air from his lungs.  Seeing his opening the knight surged forward to slam his armored body into the Nyss and crush him.  As he stepped forward the glint of a rune carved mace caught him in the side, taking him into the ground and cracking ribs.  Standing in the corner chest scarred and oozing the Trollkin began his drinking song again, this time his voice carried no power other than to bolster the Trollkin as he moved in on the knight. 
Scrambling to his feet as the Trollkin picked up the mace the two squared off.  The Trollkin held his mace mid shaft and jabbed straight forward at the knight’s face.  The rune bladed sword came low forcing the Troll to hop up to avoid losing his feet.  As the Troll came down the knights other hand came around holding a short knife stabbing it deep into the Trollkin’s shoulder and forcing him away to the right.  As the knight brought in his sword in an arc to sever the Trollkin’s head, its momentum was stopped as the Nyss intercepted the attack with his own claymore.  Sliding under and around the giant sword the Nyss again slashed at the knight this time finding a seam in the crease on his shoulder pad cutting into the knight’s arm.  As the Nyss gracefully retreated out of range the knight used yet another of his necromantic spells on the Nyss who dropped to his knees as a black shadow encircled him.  The Nyss began to gasp, his eyes wide in horror as the knight began to rip the Nyss warriors spirit from his body.  As the spell finished the job the Trollkin grabbed the knight from his breastplate edge and began to hammer him in the face with his own.  Trollkin skull to human skull over and over until his remaining strength was gone the Trollkin let go of the knight and stumbled back.  The knight’s body hit the floor hard and he groaned through his now ruined face lying still on the ground.

She awoke in a pile of rubble that was the half of the inn she had been buried in.  Pain exploded in her head as she felt the large lump and blood on the back of her scalp.  What worried her most was the silence though.   She didn’t think she had the ability to outfight either of the assailants on her boss but she knew she would die trying.   She scrambled up into the room of the fight to see all three on the ground.  Running to her Trollkin friend first to find him breathing shallowly, his chest oozing, it was bad but he would live.  Checking next on the Nyss it was apparent he was gone, so she salvaged what she could from his gear.  As she went through his affects she found a note eloquently written in a language she couldn’t read and stuffed it into her pocket. 
Checking finally on the evil knight she found him breathing shallowly, only one of his eyes wasn’t swollen closed and it watched her.  With a gurgle he began to speak to her, “You want to know why, don’t you?”  He asked the young Pygmy Troll.  She smiled innocently and looked him square in the eyes, as she ran her knife expertly across his throat finishing him for good.   Wiping her weapon on his cloak she began to cry, it had been nearly a year since she killed anyone in cold blood and she wasn’t supposed to enjoy it anymore.  Through her tears she realized maybe it wasn’t time to visit the united Kriel.  At least her boss would understand her, he always did.
She quickly ‘procured’ a cart and horse, it took some doing to get him into it but she managed.  As they rolled away from the now burning inn she wondered again if she had changed…

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