Dragon's Claw

What Comes Around Goes Around. Twice.

What doesn't kill you, only tries again.

Game Date: 9/2/09

Barely through the portal before it collapsed in upon itself, the band decided to take a much needed extended rest. Before doing so, the ragged caster from the entry was brought into the room for safekeeping. Despite the recent commotion from our foray into the depths of the tower, he continued sleeping like a baby.

Once refreshed, we woke our former foe and proceeded with a little question and answer session. He was in similar state to when we found him – weak, confused and scared. Perhaps we truly had rid his soul of the blight of shadows.

His name was, Ashbild. He could tell us that much. Unfortunately, we were quick to conclude that Ashbild was but a pawn in a much larger game. The key then, was to determine the other players.

His last coherent memories were of his native Jarlsvarg. There he was approached by a middle-man, to do a job. His agreement led to the start of his employment and the end of his memory.

One thing, stuck out as odd, however. Somewhere up in the chain of employment was one “Black Dex.” Apparently, it was this same Black Dex that had recruited him in the first place, albeit from afar.

The Dex standing before him was instantly, if only inwardly, on edge. Black Dex was a street moniker he had earned in his youth. It was a name he neither created nor promoted. Nor was it one he himself actually used. Yet people knew him – or his reputation – by it nonetheless. Could this be a ploy used by those whose actions drove him from his home in the first place? A ploy meant to flush him out? While rattled, he did his best to maintain his outward composure.

While Ashbild’s story could have been the truth as far as he knew it, we were unsatisfied. Somehow we needed to cut through the fog of shadowed memory and find something useful. First off, his fear of us needed to be alleviated. Dex, playing nice guy, tried to convince Ashbild that his life had been saved by the very men before him. Was he not, after all, free from the terrible nightmare, and now awake and aware?

Dex proceeded to lead our feeble friend out into the tower entry chamber. There the remains of the beholder mingled it’s rotting stench with that of Ashbild’s former place of internment. The rest of the band filed in behind, Sebastian maintaining a distance so as not to startle our new friend with his giant serpent form. Dex showed him the corpse and explained how the party defeated it and extracted the shadows from Ashbild’s own soul.

Still, something just wasn’t right…

Dex approached Ashbild and laid his hands upon his shoulders. See, we’re on your side. Dex searched again within Ashbild for a reemergence of the shadows. Nothing. Ashbild took this unbridled comradery with typical street tuff aplomb – he stuck Dex with his own knife.

Then, chaos.

Our feeble foe once again tapped into something dark and dangerous. The result was the appearance of twin columns of walking molten lava. They marked us and hit hard. Dex was stunned attempting to extract himself out of one’s reach. For the moment, he was out of the action. The rest of the group slid into position and attempted to save him.

In the end, the creatures were brought down. Ashbild made a break for the door. He miraculously slipped through. The chase however, became somewhat thwarted by the invisible barrier. A last chance spell from Dex luckily brought him to the ground unconscious.

He was dragged back into the tower and strapped down the one of the Dragonborn beds. Then the questioning began once more. This time in earnest.

Threats were made, digits were removed (and subsequently “digested” by Sebastian in blob form). In the end, he gave us little else of note. We did learn of a dark Eladrin who had something to do with the portals. The man had left the tower recently, headed west. Could this be the same man who had escaped us at the first tower? If so, we were one step closer to ending this.

Once everything had been wrung out the man, Dex asked for a moment alone with him. There was an uncomfortable moment between his companions. Sure, Dex had grown up on the streets. But this. This was dark.

They left, some reluctantly.

His course was unset. It all depended on Ashbild. The man had attacked them. Twice. The second instance after they had saved him by purging him of the shadow taint. Dex tried to keep the fact that the man had gutted him like a naive mark from coloring his judgment. In the end that had been his own fault for being careless, not Ashbild’s.

The man obviously had poor judgment. This was a risky proposition for Dex. The man knew things about him, not the least of which were his whereabouts. And somehow, he had to be connected to those who had forced Dex from his comfortable little niche in the city.

When faced with these facts, Ashbild showed no remorse. Within seconds, he showed no life.

Dex wiped Ashbild’s lifeblood from the same dagger the man had used on him. Then he saw something to darken his mood even further. As the last gurgled breath slipped from the deep gash in the ragged man’s throat, a blurry indistinct shadow flickered over his shoulder and vanished.

Feeling his own dark shadows creeping up behind him, Dex left.



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